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Despite a long history, the organized field of research on voluntaristics in Japan has emerged only in the past two decades. This article presents a comprehensive review of voluntaristics research in Japan through an overview of past studies and recent hot topics. Nonprofit sector and voluntary action research, now termed voluntaristics (Smith, 2016), is reviewed here using four approaches: organizational, economic, employment, and charitable giving. Discussion of recent changes in the political-legal environment for nonprofit agencies and associations as well as of collaboration among nonprofits, governments, and businesses are presented. The article also covers some of the key topics in recent years, including rising social movements and advocacy, social impact bonds, social capital, and information and communication technologies (ICT) and social media.
In discussing the emergence, expansion, and diversification of nonprofit research in Japan, the article makes two main arguments. First, we argue that studies of voluntaristics are rather recent in Japan, still in pursuit of their own originality. Second, we argue that nonprofit research in Japan is constantly looking for an ideal relationship with practice. Research appears to have not fully caught up with the changing landscape of nonprofits in action, and research has not been able to guide practice into the best next steps. The article highlights characteristics of nonprofit sector research in Japan as well as suggesting key questions for future research.
New Perspectives
Editor: Leo de Haan
This books aims to further develop theory and practice on people-centred development, in particular on the livelihood approach. It focuses on four contemporary thematic areas, where progress has been booked but also contestation is still apparent: power relations, power struggles and underlying structures; livelihood trajectories and livelihood pathways: house, home and homeland in the context of violence; and mobility and immobility.
Contemporary livelihood studies aim to contribute to the understanding of poor people’s lives with the ambition to enhance their livelihoods. Nowadays livelihood studies work from an holistic perspective on how the poor organize their livelihoods, in order to understand their social exclusion and to contribute to interventions and policies that intend to countervail that.

Contributors are: Clare Collingwood Esland, Ine Cottyn, Jeanne de Bruijn, Leo de Haan, Charles do Rego, Benjamin Etzold, Urs Geiser, Jan Willem le Grand, Griet Steel, Paul van Lindert, Annelies Zoomers.
This article provides an analytical overview of major works on the topic of environmental governance in China, with a particular emphasis on studies examining policies during the reform era (post-1978). We begin by exploring the rise of China’s “environmental state” and the various institutional and political factors that shape state behavior. Next, we describe the complex relationship between the Chinese state and society, analyzing studies related to environmental public opinion, citizen action, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), green civil society, the role of the media, and China’s judiciary. Finally, we conclude by reviewing research on market-based mechanisms of environmental governance in China, including emissions trading schemes, environmental transparency, corporate information disclosure, and green finance.
Spatial Articulations in Southeast Asia and East Asia
Using the potential of place as an approach and of places as ethnographic contexts, the authors in this volume investigate the multiple entanglements of ‘religion’ and ‘modernity’ in contemporary settings. The guiding questions of such an approach are: How are modernity and religion spatially articulated in and through places? How do these articulations help us to understand the ways in which religion becomes socially and culturally significant in modern contexts? And how do they reveal the ways in which modernity unfolds within religion? Thus, places are not only understood as neutral locations or extensions, but as spatial modes to mediate properties, contents and processes of religion and modernity. Based on ethnographic and historical research in Southeast and East Asia and featuring reflections on the concepts of religion and modernity respectively, the authors offer a deeper understanding of the articulation of a religious modernity in these regions and beyond. Contributors are: Nikolas BROY¸ CHAN Yuk Wah, Michael DICKHARDT, Volker GOTTOWIK, Patrice LADWIG, Andrea LAUSER, Jovan MAUD, YEOH Seng-Guan, Clemens SIX, Paul SORRENTINO, Alexander SOUCY, Sing SUWANNAKIJ.
Based upon a survey of five faith-based volunteer groups, Promising Practices offers valuable insights and fresh perspectives into the ways women’s participation in religious civic organizations may work as a gateway toward participatory democracy. By approaching women’s faith-based volunteering as a social practice, the book engages with three of the most important dimensions of civil society: gender, religion, and democracy. Cavaliere teases out the complexity of interactions among these three dimensions of civic life through stories of individual women who volunteer for three different religious organizations. The volume examines how faith-based volunteering is experienced by women in contemporary Japan and how it becomes a site of empowering and disempowering practices through which women balance the benefits and the costs of personal shifts, socio-economic changes and democratic transformation.

The Japanese Lifestyle Migrants in Australia
In Migration as Transnational Leisure: The Japanese Lifestyle Migrants in Australia Jun Nagatomo discusses a new type of migration in which “lifestyle” is at the core of middle class aspirations to migrate. Traditionally, international migration has been commonly seen as resulting from economic, political and religious causes. However, this book studies an intriguing new dynamic between the social transformation and the Japanese engagement with tourism and migration. Since the 1990s, when Japan was struggling with the recession, increasing numbers of young middle class Japanese began to drift from the safe and assured life course model and chose to live abroad. This book explores how lifestyle values affect migration decision of Japanese migrants in Australia and settlement processes in the migration destination.
The Chinese Students' Campaign to Stay in Australia
In Chinese Activism of a Different Kind, Jia Gao examines the social behavior and patterns of actions of 45,000 or so Chinese students as they fought to obtain the right to stay permanently in Australia after the June 4 'Tiananmen Square' incident of 1989.
In a time of relative Internet infancy their response to the shifting stances of the Australian government saw them build networks, make use of media and develop a range of strategies. In achieving success this diverse group of students became the largest intake of onshore asylum seekers in the history of Australian immigration. Through their testimonies Jia Gao provides a fascinating addition to our knowledge of Chinese activism and to the history of Chinese migration.
Editor: Eldar Bråten
Embedded Entrepreneurship examines the importance of cultural meaning in the creation and utilization of economic value. Based on case-studies from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the authors demonstrate that micro-scale entrepreneurship is intertwined with prevailing conceptions, moralities and habituations in the entrepreneurs’ social milieu. More specifically, the volume argues that meaning-making is integral to economic opportunity; that economic actors’ market agency is shaped by cultural experiences; that entrepreneurs' prototypical “individualism” is socially contingent; and that cultural meanings channel economic value among economic and social domains. Addressing core questions about “embedding”, the authors suggest theoretical convergences between economic anthropology and economic sociology.
Contributors include: Signe Howell, Ingrid Rudie, Leif Manger, Olaf H. Smedal, Frode F. Jacobsen, Kristianne Ervik, Anette Fagertun, Lars Gjelstad, Nils Hidle, Anja Lillegraven, Solgunn Olsen and Ingvild Solvang.
Gilded Ghetto, Ethnopolis, and Cultural Diaspora
The phenomenon of “Chinatown” has been of great interest to the general public as well as scholars. Movies and story books have made Chinatown to be exotic, mysterious, gangster filled, and sometimes, a gilded ghetto, an ethnopolis, a cultural diaspora as well as a model community. The authors of Chinatowns around the World seek to expose the social reality of Chinatowns with empirical data. The authors also examine the changing nature and functions of Chinatowns around the world while scrutinizing how factors emanating from larger societies and other external factors have shaped Chinatown development and transformation. The activities of the recent Chinese transnational migrants are also critically appraised.
Women’s Rights Movements, Religious Resurgence and Local Traditions
The volume is the first comprehensive compilation of texts on gender constructions, normative gender orders and their religious legitimizations, as well as current gender policies in Islamic Southeast Asia, which besides the Islamic core countries of Malaysia and Indonesia also comprises southern Thailand and Mindanao (the Philippines). The authors trace the impact of national development programmes, modernization, globalization, and political conflicts on the local and national gender regimes in the twentieth century, and elaborate on the consequences of the revitalization of a conservative type of Islam. The book, thus, elucidates the boundary lines of cultural and political processes of negotiation related to state, society, and community. It employs a broad analytical framework, offers rich empirical data and gives new insights into current debates on gender and Islam.

Contributors include Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Farish A. Noor, Siti Musdah Mulia, Amporn Marddent, Maila Stivens, Alexander Horstmann, Amina Rasul-Bernardo, Monika Arnez, Susanne Schröter, Nurul Ilmi Idrus, Vivienne S.M. Angeles and Birte Brecht-Drouart.