Research Research Clusters

Research clusters

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The four research clusters of the White Rose East Asia Centre give broad direction for developing the Centre’s research agenda, each embracing prominent and evolving themes in research on East Asia. Each cluster includes interdisciplinary approaches and combines and coordinates research activities from different disciplines, as well as straddling political boundaries in East Asia. Each cluster represents an area of existing research strength and priority at Leeds and Sheffield, and builds on the strong track record of language-based area studies and related multidisciplinary research.


1. Business, Political Economy and Development

Directors: Professors Tim Wright and Peter Buckley

This cluster focuses on the development of and interactions between East Asia’s political economies, which constitute one of the most dynamic areas of research today. China's growth and the rapid transformation in the structures of Japan’s economy pose great challenges to economists, political scientists and those in business and management studies seeking to explain the institutional dynamics and governance issues involved in the development of the East Asian economies. Current changes in corporate management, state regulation, financial and consumer markets, and ownership structures are also setting the agenda for our business research on the region. The economic history of East Asian development during the last 150-200 years is one of our expanding research fields; it is driven not only by current economic growth, but also the rapidly growing availability of historical sources. The effects of FDI on national economies in the region is another core research theme.


2. East Asian Identities and Cultures

Directors: Professors Mark Williams and Xiaowei Zang

The ethnic and religious, cultural, social and sexual/gender identities of East Asia’s nation states have become central foci in the Centre’s cultural studies research on China, Japan and East Asia, reflected in a strong interest in literature, film, music and historiography. The cultural interrelationships in East Asia are profound, in both historical and current contexts, calling for the type of comparative and multidisciplinary research environment the Centre provides. The cluster is also examining the rise of Chinese and Japanese diasporas globally and within the East Asian region focusing in particular on cultural contrasts and identities. Research in this cluster additionally explores how consumer and corporate identities and cultures compete with national and political belonging. The role of the artist, writer, film director, and others as cultural creator forms an important strand of research. Historical memory and elision in the cultural and ethnic construction of East Asian statehoods is also a core theme, as with Japanese historiography on WWII.


3. Social Change and Transition in East Asia

Directors: Professor Flemming Christiansen and Dr Hiroko Takeda

This cluster examines major social upheavals in China, the main features of which are the rise of new poverty, new forms of social class formation, and huge internal and international migrations. In Japan research focuses on the disintegration of social institutions and anomie of social relations. The cluster also currently examining the role of new middle classes in East Asia and issues of the cultural convergence of tastes, lifestyles and consumer preferences. It additionally explores the theoretical conceptualisations of class and social stratification in East Asia and addresses the nexus of migration, poverty and public policy.


4. Regionalisation and Globalisation

Directors: Professors Glenn D. Hook and Jeremy Clegg

The cluster promotes research into East Asia’s regional institutions and their global roles, a particular strength in the Centre’s research portfolio and a theme which reflects the rapid developments in the region’s economic regimes. Regional integration, in terms of growing international trade, inward and outward investment flows and globalising labour markets, is also a major research strand. The cluster continues to develop its current research on regional security, and on the recalibration of risk under the influence of globalisation. The historical antecedents of regionalism in the past two centuries are additionally core research themes. A recent publication by this cluster is China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia, edited by Dr. Christopher M. Dent.



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© White Rose East Asia Centre 2008.