About our Project

Courtyard with streamers across

Our purpose is to build an inter-disciplinary research network around issues of class and inequality through a series of workshops taking place in the UK and Japan in early-2020. Specifically, we have three objectives:

- The first is Knowledge Exchange. Our workshops will provide a much needed platform for researchers in academic and non-academic contexts to share and discuss scholarship on class and inequality from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives.

- The second is Network Development. We aim to build an extensive and diverse network of researchers cohering around particular specialisms or approaches, or perhaps around a shared or emerging interest in the possibilities of new methodological approaches and datasets. This naturally leads to our final aim.

- The third is Capacity Building. We do not see this series of workshops as an end in itself. We wish to use these as a springboard for larger and longer-term research collaborations between us and a burgeoning network based upon the value of developing comparative understandings of inequality in the Japanese and British contexts. The background section provides further detail on our thinking here, but, in short, there are strong historical and geopolitical reasons why such research should be of great value. Furthermore, in the current uncertain political and economic climate, deepening our bilateral ties makes a great deal of sense. For a longer read on our thinking behind the project, please take a look at the Rationale section.

Our network activities have been funded by the UK's AHRC and ESRC under their recent Japan-UK Social Science & Humanities Connections call. The scheme was designed to build research capacity and collaboration between scholars in both countries. You can find out more about the call here

The project is led by Niall Cunningham in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology here at Newcastle, and the other team members are: 

- Shinobu Majima (Gakushuin University, Tokyo)

- Andrew Miles (University of Manchester)

- Mike Savage (London School of Economics)

- David H. Slater (Sophia University, Tokyo)

Our network activities are also funded by Japan's MEXT/JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Research (Exploratory) programme.  The scheme was designed to firstly enhance the range of investigation into increasing inequality by comparing the UK, as a country which pioneered new research methods on social polarisation, and Japan, where social classes are now being recognised as a phenomenon. Secondly, we aim to find out ways to ameliorate the issues of inequality in complex societies such as Japan and the UK through extending our comparison globally and historically. The project team are:

- Shinobu Majima (Gakushuin University, Tokyo) (PI)

- David H. Slater (Sophia University, Tokyo) (Co-I)

- Yuji Genda (University of Tokyo) (Co-I)

- Kentaro Saito (Kyoto Sangyo University) (Co-I)