Robert J. Pekkanen
Examines a wide range of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) nonprofits, and voluntary groups under the unifying rubric of civil society. Theoretical introduction to civil society and ideas of social capital. Investigates general aspects of civil society, focusing on its specific characteristics in Japan and other parts of Asia. Recommended: SISEA 242.
Civil society groups have grown explosively in recent decades. Simultaneously, ideas of social capital have aroused widespread interest. This course examines a wide range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, and voluntary groups under the unifying rubric of "civil society." After a theoretical introduction to this class of phenomenon, the course investigates civil society in Japan and also in other parts of Asia. General topics include: growth of civil society; explanations of change in civil society over time; theories of national variation in civil societies; social capital; political consequences of civil society; and, transnational NGOs as international actors. A major focus of this class is also the specific characteristic of Japanese civil society, and their causes and consequences.
This course should give you (1) an understanding of what civil society is, and the major sets of theories used by scholars to study civil society; (2) a familiarity with most aspects of Japanese civil society; (3) a brief comparative perspective on civil societies in America and South Korea; (4) a familiarity with one or more civil society organizations.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Some background on Japan is useful, as this class teaches a specialized topic at an advanced level.
Class assignments and grading
Exams, in-class debates, one page papers, class participation, and a short report.