“Individual, Community and Society: Conflict, Resolution and Synergy”
March 27–30, 2014 | Osaka International Conference Center, Osaka, Japan
Conflict is an integral part of the human condition. The universal struggle between our personal selves – who we are as unique, separate and different from others, with our specific blend of experiences, abilities, attitudes, aspirations, needs and wants – and our social selves, intricately connected to, and interdependent on, others – our loved ones, our friends and favoured groups, our communities and cultures – leads inevitably to internal as well as interpersonal conflict.
Conflict among our communities and societies is also natural, given that these groups are founded on commonality – of geography, values, attitudes, beliefs, aspirations – and differentiated from others based on these. Diversity, however, though it may lead to conflict, plays an important role in the flourishing of communities and societies. One of the challenges of modern society is harnessing the synergy that emerges from the interaction of these differences.
ACP2014 was held alongside ACERP2014 and attracted around 310 delegates from over 35 countries, offering a diverse variety of papers that encouraged interdisciplinary reflection and discussion around the conference theme of “Individual, Community & Society: Conflict, Resolution & Synergy”. ACP2014 provided the many researchers, academics, scholars and practitioners who attended with an excellent opportunity for intellectual discovery and the development of collaborative links and connections.
In his Keynote Presentation, “Blameworthy Character Invites Harsher Punishment: A Social Psychological Approach to Punitive Motives against Individuals and Groups”, Professor Minoru Karasawa from the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Japan, addressed how our intuitive judgements of fairness is formed against unwanted or unlikeable characters within the context of criminal behaviour. As part of an interdisciplinary plenary session, our ACERP2014 Keynote Speaker, Professor Frank S. Ravitch of Michigan State University College of Law, USA, spoke on the constitutional and ethical struggles that lie within Japanese government officials’ visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and gave delegates a fascinating legal insight into the challenging issue of separation of religion and state.
Ordinary people typically think that it is fair to punish an individual, and a group, who has certain undesirable characters such as immoral proclivity. In this presentation, Dr Karasawa discusses why and how this intuitive judgment of fairness against unwanted character is formed. He points out that there are at least two different kinds of views that may govern punitive motives; that is, utilitarian judgments and the sense of retributive justice. He then present findings from social psychological studies that demonstrate different roles of these two views that lead to harsher punishment of immoral or inhuman criminal defendants. Dr Karasawa also points out the lay tendency to regard social groups and organizations (e.g., corporates) as entitative social agents, just like individual actors. This may lead to blaming the group as an independent and responsible entity in case of its wrongdoing, and thereby resulting in actual punitive behavior such as boycotting. Theoretical models as well as empirical evidence will be presented to elucidate psychological processes underlying the animating perception of group agents. Possibilities of interplay between psychological studies of person/group perception and those of morality judgments will be discussed.
Dr Minoru Karasawa’s primary research area is social cognition, covering various issues such as social categorization, intergroup cognition and emotions, and the role of culture and language in social inferences. He is also heading a research project on the psychological mechanism underlying judgments of responsibility and punitive motives in legal contexts. He has been an Associate Editor of the Asian Journal of Social Psychology and the Editor of the Japanese Journal of Social Psychology. Academic associations that he has served as a board member include the Japanese Society of Social Psychology, the Japanese Group Dynamics Association, and the Japanese Society for Law and Psychology. He has been a member of the Science Council of Japan since 2006.
Interview with Minoru Karasawa
In his Keynote Presentation at The Asian Conference on Psychology & Behavioral Sciences 2014 (ACP2014) Dr Minoru Karasawa spoke on the issue of fairness and bias when choosing punitive measures as a form of punishment. In this interview IAFOR Executive Director, Dr Joseph Haldane, sits down with Dr Karasawa to continue the discussion on the motives and morals involved in punishment.
Dr Karasawa’s primary research area has been social cognition, covering various issues such as social categorization, intergroup cognition and emotions, and the role of culture and language in social inferences. He is also heading a research project on the psychological mechanism underlying judgments of responsibility and punitive motives in legal contexts.
In his Featured Presentation Professor Jiro Takai discusses his research on interpersonal conflict resolution strategies. Conflicts abound in our everyday relationships, and their skillful management is the key to interpersonal harmony. In dealing with conflict, the perception is that we should directly confront the other party with the issues, followed by constructive, mutual communication, and negotiating a solution that leads to both parties being able to fully fulfill their respective goals. At the other end of effectiveness scale is the avoiding conflict style. Avoiding leaves the issue outstanding, with the other party not aware of doing you any injustice, and your dissatisfaction with him/her increasing until you snap. Avoiding, according to Rahim (2002), lacks self-concern, as well as other-concern, leaving nothing resolved, and surely ending up in a lose-lose situation. This talk will elaborate on why, when and how avoiding can actually be a wise choice in managing interpersonal conflict.
Jiro Takai is professor of social psychology at Nagoya University, Japan. He has served in the executive committees of the Japan Society for Social Psychology, the Japan Group Dynamics Society, the Japan Intercultural Education Society, the Communication Association of Japan, and the Japan-US Communication Association. His research interests include cross-cultural matters, particularly in the context of interpersonal communication as well as interpersonal competence, self-presentation and multi-faceted self-concept.
Interview with Jiro Takai
In his Featured Presentation Professor Takai explored the merits behind a variety of strategies and methods used in conflict management. In this interview IAFOR Executive Director, Dr Joseph Haldane, continues the discussion with Professor Takai on how avoiding conflict can be used as an effective conflict management technique. Jiro Takai is professor of social psychology at Nagoya University, and received his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has served in the executive committees of the Japan Society for Social Psychology, the Japan Group Dynamics Society, the Japan Intercultural Education Society, the Communication Association of Japan, and the Japan-US Communication Association (affiliate of National Communication Association).
Frank S. Ravitch
For those familiar with Japan, the simple mention of the Yasukuni Shrine raises the specter of controversy.The Shrine is an edifice of the Meiji Era that sprung from humble beginnings into the site of international controversy. The shrine was originally created in 1879 to commemorate government soldiers killed in the Boshin War, but it has grown into a symbol of Japanese nationalism, militarism, and historical revisionism, which is controversial to many people within the pacifist culture in Japan, and to people in China, Korea and Taiwan. Among those enshrined there today are those involved in military expansionism and war crimes.This includes fourteen Class-A war criminals who were secretly enshrined without public knowledge.There are, of course, many enshrined there who did not commit war crimes, but the cultural meaning of the shrine is itself controversial within Japan, which has become a culture deeply rooted in pacifism. Moreover, to many Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese and others, visits to the shrine by high-ranking government officials is an offense. Visits to the shrine by government officials create an ethical and cultural struggle for many Japanese, who are surprised to learn of international reaction to the visits, and yet feel deeply committed to avoiding conflict. Japan is a constitutional democracy, however, and whether or not visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by the government officials are offensive and ill advised, the question remains whether those visits are constitutional. Most courts to consider the question have held the visits are constitutional, but at least one court, the Osaka High Court, held the visits are unconstitutional. This talk explains why the Osaka High Court correctly interpreted the Japanese Constitution. Moreover, the talk addresses why this approach is consistent with the ethical commitments of many in Japan, who accept pacifism as part of the cultural dasein.
Frank S. Ravitch is Professor of Law and the Walter H. Stowers Chair in Law and Religion at Michigan State University College of Law. He is the author of several books on issues pertaining to law and civil rights. Professor Ravitch has also published a number of law review articles addressing U.S. and Japanese constitutional law, law & religion, and civil rights law in leading journals. In addition, he has also written a number of amicus briefs addressing constitutional issues to the United States Supreme Court.
Interview with Frank S. Ravitch
This interview features highlights of some of the bigger questions Dr. Joseph Haldane, IAFOR Executive Director, asked in a follow-up interview with Professor Frank S. Ravitch about his Keynote Presentation on Japanese government officials visiting Yasukuni Shrine. Professor Ravitch also discusses Japanese Constitutional Law, Yasukuni Shrine, a “Color-Bind” U.S. constitution and more.