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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Civil Society, Political Participation and Happiness

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Venue

Werner Reimers Foundation
Am Wingertsberg 4
61348 Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Germany



International Symposium

Civil Society, Political Participation and Happiness

Civil Society, Political Participation and Happiness

May 23 - May 25, 2013

Mounting public debt at national, regional and municipal levels is the lament of the day heard from Athens to Rome, from Washington to Tokyo, from Duisburg to Remscheid. Governments are more and more constrained in the services they can provide as annual interest payments on debt keep rising. Under the circumstances the social commitment of private actors, be they corporations or citizens, becomes ever more important. Other than altruistic philanthropy, what are the incentives underlying civic involvement? Recent findings in the field of happiness studies suggest that people who engage in community service and contribute in other ways to society are happier than those who do not get involved. However, beyond this conspicuous correlation little is known about the conditions and specific motivations of this kind of behaviour, and much is still to be learnt about how individual life satisfaction is influenced by social awareness, trust in institutions, etc. and social commitment.

While the determinants and correlates of well-being have been a topic of research in the interdisciplinary field of happiness studies for many years now, the number of studies which take political participation and civic engagement into account is – in spite of the recent surge for happiness – still rather limited. Although these topics have been studied in traditional disciplines like sociology, psychology and political science, the studies in those fields, however, often neglect happiness and social well-being in their analysis. The intention of this sympoium was, by bringing together a select group of experts from the fields of happiness studies, economics, sociology and political science, to shed light on the complex interconnectedness of civil society, political participation and life satisfaction in the functioning and development of society.
The findings of the workshop will be published in a special issue of the journal “Voluntas” late 2014.

Presentations

Day 1         May 23rd (Thursday)

19:00 – 20:30
Public opening lecture

Social commitment, market principles and happiness – the view of the private sector

Christopher Pleister, Federal Agency for Financial Market Stabilisation, FMSA

Social commitment, market principles and happiness – the view of science

Florian Coulmas


German Institute for Japanese Studies

Day 2         May 24th (Friday)

09:30 – 11:00
Session 1: Setting the stage: Civil Society, Political Involvement and Happiness

Changing patterns of voluntarism and participation in Norway

Bernard Enjolras, Centre for Research on Civil Society & Voluntary Sector

Social and political involvement and the machinery of trust, mastery and happiness

Paul Dekker, Tilburg University

11:30 – 13:00
Session 1: Setting the stage: Civic Engagement and Social Well Being

Social participation, sense of community and social well-being

Elvira Cicognani, University of Bologna

Feeling involved – civic engagement and social well-being in Japan

Carola Hommerich


German Institute for Japanese Studies

14:30 – 16:00
Session 2: Antecedents and consequences of political participation (part I)

Direct democracy and procedural utility

Alois Stutzer, University of Basel

Untangling the relationship between political participation and happiness

Matthew S. Winters, University of Illinois

Political participation and happiness: Japan, the usual outlier?

Tim Tiefenbach


German Institute for Japanese Studies

16:30 – 18:00
Session 2: Antecedents and consequences of political participation (part II)

Political participation and well-being: A case study of political activists in Japan after 3/11

Phoebe Stella Holdgrün


German Institute for Japanese Studies

What do we do when the young don’t party? Examining barriers to satisfactory youth engagement in politics in Japan and Italy

Robin LeBlanc, Washington and Lee University

Day 3         May 25th (Saturday)

09:30 – 11:00
Session 3: Social movements (part I)

Framing processes among the invisible - Parental social movement organizations and well-being in Japan

Barbara Holthus


German Institute for Japanese Studies

Anti-nuclear activities after the Fukushima nuclear disaster: A new stage of the Japanese Civil Society?

Koichi Hasegawa, Tohoku University Sendai

11:30 – 13:00
Session 3: Social movements (part II)

Motivational framing of parental social movements in Japan

Barbara Holthus


German Institute for Japanese Studies

Advocacy can also be fun: Finding happiness through participation in Japan's invisible civil society

Patricia Steinhoff, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Civil society and Japanese citizens' activism surrounding Japan's constitution and Article 9 debates, Okinawan peace movements, and post-311 disaster responses

Millie Creighton, The University of British Columbia

14:30 – 15:30
Final discussion

Day 2         May 24th (Friday)

11:00 – 11:30
Coffee break

13:00 – 14:30
Lunch

16:00 – 16:30
Coffee break

Day 3         May 25th (Saturday)

11:00 – 11:30
Coffee break

13:00 – 14:30
Lunch

Day 1         May 23rd (Thursday)

20:30 – 21:30
Get-together

Projects

Happiness in Japan: Continuities and Discontinuities