UCLan-MIDEX Webinar: Civil Society and International Students in Japan: The Making of Social Capital, by Dr Polina Ivanova

24 May 2023

Polina Ivanova’s forthcoming monograph (available for pre-order at Routledge on 23 June 2023) explores encounters and interactions between international students and local civil society organisations (CSOs) in Japan.

Based on the results of a cross-case analysis, this study reveals the possibilities for international students in Japan of creating social capital in the short term in culturally and socially diverse groups. While a conventional approach sees universities as the main support providers, this research shows the role of local CSOs as alternative actors offering international student support. Unlike the long-standing paradigm viewing Japanese civil society as top-down and closely following the government, this book uncovers many decentralised and bottom-up organisational types. Furthermore, it highlights an active part taken by foreign staff and volunteers in Japanese CSOs, which challenges the guest-host dichotomy of the previous literature. The book also includes a chapter on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international students, civil society, and social capital.

Presenting a reconsidered insight into the role of international students and their interaction with CSOs in community building, this book will appeal to students and scholars of Asian studies, and migration studies as well as organisers of CSOs and faculty of international higher education institutions.

Polina Ivanova is a postdoctoral researcher at Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan) where she obtained her PhD in International Relations in March 2021. Her research interests lie in the area of international migration focusing on international student mobility and more recently on refugees and asylum seekers. Her forthcoming book “Civil society and international students in Japan: The making of social capital” (Routledge, 2023) is based on her doctoral dissertation examining interaction between civil society groups and international students in the Kansai area of Japan and her postdoctoral research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Polina participated in four collaborative projects with research partners from Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, United States and published six peer-reviewed articles and two policy briefs based on this work. Her current project is an edited volume on refugees and asylum seekers in Japan and Taiwan, co-edited with Dr Lara Momesso (UCLan) and bringing together 22 researchers and practitioners from Japan, UK, US, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Czech Republic.

Wednesday 24 May 16.00-17.00: Online and ABLT4

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