Associational Life in Rural Areas from a Comparative Perspective: A Qualitative Case Study on Local Associations in Vietnam and Japan

Project summary
I began my research idea in hypothesizing that the process of urbanization and modernization strongly affects the nature of associational life. From a qualitative case study approach, this research identifies associations in selected areas of the two countries. It also describes the associational life through various activities of the associations, and finds the causes that led people to engage in local associations. Under the urbanization process, people’s participation in local associations might help reveal their social universe, where we find a move from the universe of intimate villagers to a more social and functional one. The research also tries to map out traits in the formation of a social space among members. Participating in lifecycle rituals of members and practicing hobby-related activities are also the ways for local people to create their social space in their localities. In another dimension, the efforts in organizing an associational life beyond the boundary of a community might present a local society that is trying to assert its identity and shaping its civil space. In making comparisons of the situation in Vietnam and Japan, this research takes into account differences in socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the two countries in general, of the selected research sites in particular, so as to the development of associational life in this country can imply recommendations for the other.

Project location: Yugi district, Hachioji city, Tokyo, Japan and Dong Ky ward, Tu Son city, Bac Ninh province, Vietnam

Funding: the Japan Foundation

For more information, please contact Dang Thi Viet Phuong