The Department of Sociocultural Studies encourages its students to become acquainted with a theoretical framework that allows them to handle “society” and “culture” in a coordinated and multifaceted manner. It cultivates talented young people who are strongly field-oriented and have acquired many linguistic abilities. This department requires students to actively study English and other foreign languages.
The organization of the Department of Sociocultural Studies is based on “societies,” “cultures,” and “systems.” When this department was established, we conceptualized the relations among these three concepts in the following manner. First, we considered “society” to be a “substantial system of interactions that is relatively unchangeable” and is represented by systems or organizations; we then thought of “culture” as a “normative system used to create and pass down this society.” Adopting this perspective involves understanding “society” and “culture” as a single indivisible concept, and we handled this indivisible singular nature as a “sociocultural system.” Thus, we named our department the Department of Sociocultural Studies.
Several of the social problems or phenomena that are currently occurring in the world could be viewed as emerging from areas that involve conflicts between “society” and “culture.” The ethnic conflicts and issues that frequently occur all over the world are rooted in religious (=cultural) confrontations, and they occasionally disturb the system of a nation state (=society). In contrast, sometimes, they comprise complex aspects that lead them to unify a state. Adopting the aforementioned perspective that views “society” and “culture” as an indivisible system offers an extremely rich and effective analytical framework for examining various modern-day problems on a global scale.
We believe that an understanding of “society,” “culture,” and “systems” as a trifecta offers a useful analytical framework for examining several social problems and cultural phenomena. These social problems and cultural phenomena are not limited to ethnic conflicts and issues, and they include sensational reactions to “new religious groups,” the acceptance or shunning of the behaviors of the “youth,” including middle and senior high school students, and the potentially excessive interest in the various “criminal” behaviors of the people around us.
Based on the thoughts expressed previously, the Department of Sociocultural Studies would like its students to learn a theoretical framework that enables a coordinated and multifaceted handling of “society” and “culture” and cultivates talented young people who are strongly field-oriented and have acquired various linguistic abilities.
In the Department of Sociocultural Studies, the Seminar on Sociocultural Studies (labeled “the seminar”) is a compulsory subject from freshmen to senior years. The handling of a wide variety of problems each year in school and attempts to understand concepts through a keen analysis of both cultural and social aspects are the unique characteristics of this department’s seminar. The approach that considers the understanding of cultural phenomena through their relation with social systems has led to sociology, cultural anthropology, and area studies being set as core subjects within this department. Moreover, the department also emphasizes the study of language as it is necessary for area studies.