Our Project, “Establishing Research Networks on the studies of protest movements: focusing on the cases of the Middle East and its comparison with those in Asia” (Apr. 2021-Mar. 2024) is sponsored by JSPS Core-to-Core program: Type B. Asia-Africa Science Platforms. JSPS Core-to-Core program is “designed to create top world-class research centers that partner over the long term with other core research institutions around the world in advancing research in leading-edge fields, on issues of high international priority, and in areas that contribute to the solution of prevailing problems in the Asia-African regions. While advancing research in these fields and building core research and education hubs in the Asia and Africa, the Core-to-Core Program also concentrates on fostering the next generations of trailblazing young researchers.” (https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-c2c/index.html)
Under the above purpose of the Program in general, our Project, “Establishing Research Networks on the studies of protest movements: focusing on the cases of the Middle East and its comparison with those in Asia” aims to grasp the socio-political awareness of young people in recent years in the Middle East, especially in the Arab countries, and to compare it with the cases of Japan and Asia. The Center for Relational Studies on the Global Crises, Chiba University will work as a research hub for this research exchange.
In the Middle East, the accumulation of youth distrust of the government and social dissatisfaction is often attributed to political instability such as conflicts, wars and violent movements. On the other hand, the non-violent street protests that have occurred in Lebanon, Iraq, and North African countries in recent years, which are different from the past anti-government activities in the point that they are voluntarily emerged movements centered on young people and women. This tendency can be seen in the street protests in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as in the BLM movement.
This study focuses on the current situation in Iraq and Lebanon where street protests are currently occurring, and conducts a field survey, in cooperation mainly with (1) Iraq (Baghdad University), (2) Lebanon (American University of Beirut [AUB]), as well as making use of academic network with Qatar (Qatar University) and Jordan (West Asia / North Africa [WANA] Research Institute).
By comparing the cases of Arab countries with similar protests in Asia, our study can give an overall picture of social movements in non-Western societies. The global expansion of street protests is a contemporary global issue that the next generation of young researchers cannot avoid, not only in social movement research but also in the humanities and social sciences in general. Our program will encourage and support more and more young researchers, both in Japan and in the Arab countries, to study on the social movements in the non-Western societies such as Asia and the Middle East.
General Coordinator: Keiko SAKAI (Chiba University)