Transnational sociology is a new paradigm which analyzes cross-border processes and structures that are producing the great social transformations that we observe today. This new sociological approach attempts to go beyond the analytical unit of nation-state that the discipline of sociology has long taken for granted. But transnational sociology also values empirical studies which probe concrete social relations. This is a significant feature of sociology, which has distinguished it from related disciplines such as international politics or international relations.
In Japan, transnational sociology has steadily developed over the past twenty years. Hitotsubashi University pioneered in this domain, when in 1993 it established a new graduate program of transnational sociology by inviting Takamichi Kajita (1947-2006), a front-runner of the approach, as its inaugurating professor at the Graduate School of Social Sciences. Thanks to his pioneering efforts, many students have graduated the program over the subsequent decade and a half.
With two full time professors starting in 2001, our program has expanded and developed. It presently has over 20 graduate school students enrolled. These include many students who have graduated from other universities in diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Our program plays an important role by laying the foundation for innovative research and education in the broader field of transnational studies in Japan. Students coming from countries such as the Philippines, Korea, Brazil and China among others have also joined our program and are contributing their own point of views on transnational processes. We encourage our students to learn from diverse values and viewpoints from outside their home environment, to pursue fieldwork study so that they comprehend transnational social processes not only at the theoretical level but also at the level of concrete social practices, and to work side-by-side with their international colleagues.
The goal of our program at Hitotsubashi is to envision and develop a transnational sociology that can enhance our capability to act as well as to analytically understand our ever more globalizing world.
Tokyo, March 2009
Akihiro Koido, Ruri Ito
Transnational Sociology Program
Graduate School of Social Sciences
2-1 Naka Kunitachi
Tokyo, 186-8601 Japan
e-mail: trans_soci AT soc.hit-u.ac.jp