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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Nadine Vogel

Japanese Studies, Social Sciences
(PhD Students, February 1, 2015 - July 31, 2015)

Research interests

Economic sociology, sociology of organizations


Research project

Social Entrepreneurship in Japan: The Case of Food Banking

Social entrepreneurship is an attempt to tackle social problems by making use of entrepreneurial strategies and business techniques. The term refers to various players such as nonprofit organizations, social businesses, companies that include CSR in their business scheme, among others. Since the late 1990s, the social enterprise movement appears on a global scale. It is at the center of a highly contested discourse on the role of business in society and it includes a broad range of actors with divergent perspectives. The PhD project is a case study on social entrepreneurship in Japan. By referring to diffusion theory (Rogers 1983, 1995, 2003), I explore how social entrepreneurship is adopted in Japan (against corporate culture/social values) and examine the role of change agents propagating this new form of organizational activity. The PhD project traces the flow of ideas, organizational forms and financial support to social entrepreneurship in Japan since the early 2000s. In addition, I propose an in-depth case study in order to investigate how social and organizational processes lead to social entrepreneurship in more detail. I focus on the case of food banking (e.g. charitable food assistance provided by soup kitchens, (food) companies and public welfare institutions such as community centers, homeless shelters, and aid agencies) located in downtown Tokyo`s Ueno Park and in the segregated San`ya district (yoseba). Methodologically, the PhD thesis draws on qualitative interviews, fieldwork and organizational observations.

Keywords: diffusion, social entrepreneurship, NPO, civil society, welfare, poverty, case studies