The Intercultural Education Society of Japan (IESJ), with the Research Committee playing a central role, decides upon a research theme which should be addressed by the Society and promotes research into the theme over a two-year period. In this project, speakers are selected based on the designated research theme, public study meetings and lectures are held, and the discussion is deepened throughout the year together with the participants. Then the results are made public at the conference held in June each year, as well as in the Society’s journal, “Intercultural Education.”
FY 2023 IESJ Annual Research Theme
Expanding Intercultural Education Research through “Symbolic Mobility”
During last year’s IESJ Annual Research Theme, understanding of research methodology in order to comprehend the experience of migrants was deepened. Through the discussions, the importance of scrutinizing research methodology, including the ontology and epistemology of phenomena, was recognized. However, it cannot be said that we sufficiently examined the question of how to understand “migration” itself. For this reason, this year’s topic has been set as “Expanding Intercultural Education Research through “Symbolic Mobility”,” building on last year’s results.
An enormous amount of research into children and young people who migrate has been accumulated in intercultural education so far. Much of this has looked at the returnees from overseas, second-generation migrants, international students, and so on involved in physical migration between nations, and has elucidated the educational problems which they experience.
However, the migrations which people experience are not limited to physical ones. We experience not only migrations from one place to another, but also “symbolic migrations” from one position to another, from one time to another, or from one situation to another on a daily basis. Has there not been a tendency in intercultural education thus far to disregard these kinds of symbolic migration? Of course, these migrations are not experienced independently, but rather within an intersection of multiple migrations, including physical ones. The importance of interrogating these symbolic migrations can perhaps be said to have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when physical migrations are restricted.
In this IESJ Annual Research Theme, we hope to develop the discussion in order to apprehend the diversity and complexity of migration in intercultural education research, using this symbolic migration as an entry point. By focusing on the “migration” which the Intercultural Education Society of Japan has made self-evident, it will be possible to deepen understanding of the experiences of children and young people who live between different cultures, of course, but also perhaps to analyze and describe their experiences more richly, and to encourage a reconstruction of educational practices towards them. Also, by discussing the potential of the concepts of “migration” held by diverse researchers, we hope that dialog and mutual understanding between academic fields will deepen, fostering transdisciplinarity in intercultural education.
Themes from recent years
Only the themes are listed here. They are listed by the year in which they were presented at the conference.