In the first part of the twentieth century, some members of the French- or Chinese-educated but indigenous religious, economic, and political elite in southern Vietnam (Cochin-China) intensively engaged in spirit-medium practices. Many of them set up or joined the new Cao Đài religion and its spirit-medium séances. Integrating in their pantheon religious figures from Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and even Catholicism, Cao Đài leaders deliberately challenged the orthodoxies at that time, tactically undermining the local religious elites, but also proposing a universal theological redemption and moral reform through the publication of their new set of spirit medium messages. Very quickly after the creation of Caodaism in 1926, various groups branched off, borrowing and adapting this reformed and orthodox posture within the Cao Đài community itself. While the Cao Đài canon may be well-known to scholars, Cao Đài community journals have yet to be examined in detail, although they often served as incubators for the Cao Đài quest for orthodoxy and a modern path to salvation. Based on archival studies and field research trips to the relevant areas, this paper aims to show how collective and individual actors of these Cao Đài groups have mobilised institutional, rhetorical, ideological, media-based, and other resources to assure and legitimise their authority. Simultaneously, we will see how the Cao Đài religion emerged from very unique kinds of “redemptive societies,” combining both Western and Eastern esotericism to articulate new Asian expressions of orthodoxy, universal values, and cosmopolitanism.
This paper tackles the question of what kind of views on risk and security prevail in the Japanese private security industry and analyses its discursive structure. A theoretical framework based on the Copenhagen School’s concept of securitisation and its modification by Olaf Corry-the model of riskification-is used to explain processes of shaping notions of risk and security within the discourse. By analysing newspapers and professional magazines, it can be observed that by constantly pointing out the risks, the environment of the private security industry slowly changes, giving private companies further opportunities to act as a positively acknowledged part of society. It is not them, however, who actively shape these circumstances; rather, the broader range of activities are enforced and legitimised by the police that seems to be increasingly interested in joint crime prevention strategies.
In the absence of concrete ethnic differences, the division of a single Korean nation into two opposing states has led to the creation of specific types of nationhood and state building. This pseudo-ethnicity, which marks North Korean immigrants as “other” to South Koreans, results in adaptation problems and cultural difficulties. As the sociological literature considers self-employment of minorities and immigrants to be an important avenue for upward economic mobility, this paper focuses on North Korean new settlers who have established their own businesses in South Korea. By case study analysis, it was revealed that new settlers and official organisations have highly differing perceptions on the issue of North Korean self-employment. Public authorities try to discourage North Koreans from becoming self-employed, which is why a comprehensive economic support programme is lacking. However, it was discerned that a new generation of new settlers is growing, showing high motivation and entrepreneurial spirit. The result of this study showed that a tailored support programme for self-employed North Koreans, such as an adapted form of social enterprises, is needed.
The People’s Republic of China and Japan have been at odds with each other for over a century. Their modern relationship was shaped by imperialism, territorial disputes, and two wars. With the end of the bipolar power structure of the Cold War, both nations are vying for regional leadership. The unresolved territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diàoyú Islands (Senkaku shotō 尖閣諸島/ Diàoyúdǎo jí qí fùshǔ dǎoyǔ 钓岛及其附属岛屿) in the East China Sea serves as a constant catalyst for clashes between both powers and seems to be pushing towards a violent eruption. Thus, this paper assesses the risk of an interstate war between China and Japan in the twenty-first century. By employing the Steps to War theory, each step nations usually take before engaging in war, it will be analysed in order to see how far the brewing Sino-Japanese conflict has developed. This paper aims at answering the questions of the current risk of war, whether there is a palpable shift towards conflict escalation during the twenty-first century, and if so, identifying the main drivers for this development and ascertaining whether threats to stability are currently increasing or decreasing.
In 2007, China overtook the US to become the largest emitter of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere. China’s vital role in global efforts to combat climate change creates a pressing challenge to explore the unique characteristics of Chinese environmental values and policy processes, and to identify the frames that are employed to understand climate change and related environmental issues domestically. This paper investigates a) how the political context, as well as differing political agendas and policy goals within which actors operate, affects and sometimes constrains the frames they generally employ; and b) the specific frames used to understand and discuss climate change by interview subjects and in written documents. It finds that different frames are employed by those supporting the current regime and its attendant official discourses on climate change and the environment (mainly government officials) and those challenging or in opposition to such dominant framings (particularly NGOs).
This paper examines overseas Chinese identity construction in Austria by focusing on Europe Weekly, the biggest Chinese language newspaper in Vienna. The study adopts a quantitative and qualitative content analysis, with the latter focusing on Europe Weekly’s reporting of the 2008 Tibet unrest and a comparison of the newspaper’s coverage of the event to the media portrayals in the Austrian daily Die Presse and the Chinese People’s Daily. Findings show that the Weekly in general promotes a pluralistic view for its readers and, thus, provides a narrative of a hybrid Chinese identity that encompasses Austria, China, the local Chinese community in Austria, as well as transnational spaces of the Chinese diaspora. Yet, while the Weekly normally promotes plurilocal attachments and flexible self-assurances of the Chinese in Austria, the study also reveals how the process of Chinese immigrant identity formation might change when the country of residence and the home country find themselves in antagonistic positions. The findings demonstrate both the difficulties of maintaining transnational attitudes in times of a crisis and strategies of Chinese immigrants to somehow remain open towards the host society while simultaneously promoting the rhetoric of solidarity with the Chinese nation state.
This paper discusses the debate in Chinese online media on both climate change policy and the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15). Based on the results of a discourse analysis of Chinese language weblogs, the paper argues that at the time of COP15 there was a dominant single discourse coalition, while also identifying alternative discourse formations. The main reasons for this discursive structure seem to be the ways in which actors are participating in the political process, the sensitivity of the topic of climate change in the Chinese discussion, and the influence of foreign debates.
This research aims at reviewing the coherence of rhetoric and behaviour of Japanese and South Korean aid policy. By using the theoretical framework of role theory, the role conceptions of Japanese and South Korean policymakers are compared with the actual role performances of the countries. A four step methodological approach is chosen. First, the aid-related rhetoric of policymakers between 2005 and 2012 is analysed. By using qualitative content analysis, six role conceptions are identified (“Bridge”, “Model”, “Respected Member of the International Community”, “Responsible Leader”, “Partner”, “Newcomer”). Second, commitment indicators found in the role conceptions are compared to aid disbursement data from the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System. Third, two case studies-an Asian and an African recipient country (Vietnam and Tanzania)- are presented to provide additional information on qualitative indicators. Finally, role performances are set in the context of the previously derived role conceptions. As a result, role gaps are identified for both donors, whereas in two instances respectively role performance is coherent with role conception. Japan acts as a “Bridge” and “Partner”, while South Korea is a “Newcomer” and to some extent a “Partner”. This research shows that the reliability of aid related commitments of Japan and South Korea is overall quite weak, thereby contributing to a deeper understanding of the two countries’ roles in the international aid community by linking the fields of Foreign Policy Analysis, role theory, and Official Development Assistance.
Does the allocation of transboundary water strengthen cooperation among states or cause international conflicts? This is a question that is highly disputed among several scholars, whereas the arguments of both sides seem equally rational. An analogous dissent can be seen in the research area of the Mekong River. For that reason, it is rational to avoid engaging in this everlasting disagreement and rather look at the problematic question from another viewpoint. This article deals with the Mekong case from a relatively new angle by combining the concepts of power, hydro-hegemony, and coexistence of conflict and cooperation as proposed by the London Water Research Group for analysing the impacts of hydro-hegemony on water allocation. This approach enables us to observe that the power asymmetry deriving from four types of power (geographic, material, bargaining, and ideational power) gives China the position of the hydro-hegemon that is followed by five weaker non-hegemons in the following order: Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Despite the great number of collaborative groups, the non-hegemons have not been able to resist the hydro-hegemony of China effectively, as the unity of non-hegemons is mostly hampered by different national interests. Therefore, the bilateral relations of China with the other riparian states individually-especially with Laos and Cambodia-have been stronger than on the multilateral basis with the Mekong River Commission.
Kirino Natsuo, arguably one of the most popular contemporary Japanese authors in Western markets (a number of her novels having been translated into English, German, French, Italian, Dutch or Spanish, among other languages) who is often being recognised as a mystery writer, only enjoys limited acknowledgment for the thematic breadth and genre diversity of her work. Such description is not only inaccurate (Kirino published her last true mystery novel in 2002), but also manifests itself in the limited and underdeveloped treatment of her work in Western academic writing. This paper deals with Kirino Natsuo’s 2011 novel Poritikon (Politikon) and its analysis within the greater context of Kirino’s work. A focus is put upon introducing the novel as utopian fiction with the aim to illustrate ways in which Kirino Natsuo utilises utopian genre patterns as well as how her utopia works to provide a commentary on contemporary Japan. The utopian theme present in Poritikon makes the novel a rather untypical entry in Kirino’s oeuvre (although not a unique one, since her novels Tōkyō-jima [Tokyo Island, 2008 1 ] and Yasashii otona [Gentle Adults, 2010] also work with elements of utopian/dystopian fiction) as well as within the Japanese literary scene in general, and provides an interesting argument for Kirino Natsuo as more than ‘just’ a mystery writer.