This research proposes a novel perspective known as “boundary spanning practice” for sustainability studies based on field research and practice. This viewpoint aims to encompass various boundaries between administrative sectors, academic disciplines, government and nongovernmental actors, and researchers and other stakeholders in the pursuit of collaborative solutions and governance-building for sustainability challenges. This research argues that governance in the context of collaborative solutions to sustainability challenges can be defined as the “reflective process to realize a creative and emergent way of governance in bringing various types of knowledge into try-and-error practices, while stakeholders who participate in task solution shares a common vision of their collaboration.” Moreover, it also asserts that a researcher who conducts action research can play a significant role in developing such a method of governance as a stakeholder. By discussing existing literature and workshop deliberations in this project, this research identified several issues focusing on boundary spanning practices to be discussed for further research, such as the ambiguity of boundaries, multifaceted nature of boundaries and their dynamism, diversity of actors and their roles as boundary spanners, and reflective process of boundary spanning practices.
This paper examines the background to the demand for “coordinators” as a profession in Japanese society after the reflexive modernization of the 1990s. Then, it derives the coordination mechanism through a case study of boundary spanning collaboration involving multiple sectors in support of victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Based on the case study, coordination can be regarded as the act of reducing the transaction costs involved in resource and knowledge mobilization through four kinds of skills; cultural translation, framing, networking, and organizing. It aims to establish cross-border collaboration in which the resources and knowledge of multiple people and organizations are mobilized and traded. The need to enter commitment relationships with multiple people who have internalized different institutions according to their affiliations has led coordinators to internalize the norm that prohibits self-interest. This norm discourages rational and opportunistic behavior according to one's own direct interests and endorses behavior according to goals set collectively among multiple people and organizations. The broader focus on “coordinators” should also be understood as a response to wicked problems observed in reflexive modernized societies that present difficulty being addressed systematically by hierarchical organizations with accumulated expertise and skills, or being solved by the markets in which they participate.
This paper aims to grasp the concept of ‘boundary spanning’ as a remarkable behavior of actors who drive collaborative practices beyond specific sectors of rural governance in Indonesia. Rural governance is defined as the collective endeavor by various actors to tackle the problems which happen simultaneously in several sectors and cannot be solved by individual residents (Tahara 2019). The concept of ‘place’ is also key in dynamically explaining the spatial range of groups of relationships that exist at the micro level in a village.
This study focuses on an irrigated area of South Sulawesi province, where some farmers are proactive as leaders of water users' association. In addition to their work as farmers they also have roles as village officials. By placing them at the center of the case study, it is possible to examine how they have combined their knowledge and human networks acquired from their experience in irrigation management into further collaboration at different levels of rural governance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘boundary spanning’ observed in the case study is implemented to mutual benefit in a specific socio-cultural context of rural governance at micro level. Furthermore, the ‘boundary spanning’ actors acknowledge a holistic picture of rural life, visualizing overlapping but unrecognized relationships and resources in the community beyond each sector and utilizing them effectively in different contexts.
In conclusion, seemingly impenetrable issues in one domain can be overcome through being placed into a different context within another domain of rural governance. A ‘boundary spanning’ actor, who brings a different perspective to each issue, can join together disconnected knowledge, resources and human networks in various ways, and thus facilitate new collaborative practices.
Advancing globalization has been accompanied by ongoing movements to reclaim the cultures of ethnic groups, mainly through “cultural tourism.” In China too, the diversity and continuity of traditional cultures are being threatened by rapid economic growth and changes in lifestyles associated with urbanization that are leading to people's disassociation from traditional Chinese cultures and the resultant loss of various cultural activities. Consequently, the Chinese government is attempting to protect specific forms of cultural heritage.
Batik has historically evolved as a cultural artefact among the Miao ethnic group in Guizhou Province, China, whose production of these handicrafts draws on the natural environment as experienced within a farming-centered lifestyle. The traditional Miao culture has attracted considerable interest, and Guizhou batik handicrafts produced by this ethnic group, which have a long history, are highly valued. However, rapid economic development and urbanization have transformed Miao society in Guizhou. Consequently, the future of Guizhou batik depends on striking a balance between conservation of an intangible cultural heritage and the response of a traditional craft to market demands. Concurrently, various changes have been evident, entailing activities that transcend the “boundaries” of the Miao artisans who produce Guizhou batik. This “boundary spanning” phenomenon has led to the emergence of “bridgers,” who are involved as coordinators, supporters, players, and change agents, encouraging the creation of new value through the formation of networks and partnerships between concerned actors. “Bridgers” have a crucial role to play in establishing networks and partnerships required to maintain intangible cultural heritage such as Guizhou batik.
This paper first presents an overview of Miao perceptions of the relationship between nature and culture, followed by a discussion of the characteristics of Guizhou batik. Next, the “boundary spanning activities” of various actors involved in Guizhou batik are elucidated through a focus on the network of supporters/entrepreneurs who connect the creators and the market and their relationships. A key focus of the discussion is on the vicissitudes of cross-border batik and on the importance of networks and partnerships involved in boundary spanning activities associated with Guizhou batik. Lastly, the impacts of rapid economic growth and social change on the Miao are discussed, and the possibility of involving different economic organizations in the protection of cultural artifacts like Guizhou batik is explored. The discussion also engages with the question of whether Miao culture can be authentically and sustainably integrated into the contemporary globalizing world.
When engaging in fieldwork in an emerging economy and other developing countries where contingent, uncertain, and restrictive situations are prevalent, how can outside researchers and local actors collaborate in practice against challenges to sustainability? This article focuses on boundaries emerging between research and practice in different stages and examines how each actor engages in “boundary spanning practice” by highlighting embedded experiences in a series of fieldwork. It defines a “boundary spanning collaboration” as the development of a novel idea into collaborative practice beyond each position and domain by various stakeholders of different positions and areas in an attempt to reveal the dynamism of multifaceted boundary spanning practices between the field and the home. For a case study, the author reflects on his experience of collaborative practices with a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) for almost 15 years in the Huai River Basin, China, which has been suffering from water pollution hazards, and has become aware of a series of boundary spanning practices. While the boundary between the field and the home has been opened, closed, and then reopened for 15 years, such practices have connected types of knowledge and resources beyond emergent boundaries along with serious pollution hazards between developed and developing countries, and as a politically sensitive issue. The author also realizes there have been three phases —“flatting,” “flipping,” and “reflecting”— beyond the boundary between the author as an outside researcher and the local NGO in different stages in their collaborative field research. Importantly, such phases have been contingently induced, and they have elevated their back-and-forth boundary spanning collaboration reflectively.
This study uses a panel data fixed-effects model to analyze the effect of farmland size on production cost and land productivity measured by unit output and unit profit based on the data of 10 counties of 3 major grain-producing provinces in China. The results are as follows: First, farmland size has a significant negative impact on the unit output and production cost, but it has a positive impact on the unit profit, which means that farmland size has not brought an increase in unit output, but it has indeed significantly reduced the production cost and increase the unit profit of grain production. Second, for the impact of the enlargement of farmland size on the grain production, the coefficient of virtual variables changes shows an inverted “U-shaped” curve in the models of output and profit, while the coefficients represent a “U-shaped” curve in the production cost model, and the turning points fall within 1∼1.333 ha, which shows that the appropriate areas of grain production should be 1∼1.333 ha. Third, the inverse influence of farmland size on unit output and production cost is weakening over time, which indicates that the problem of diminishing effects of farmland size improves with the introduction of favorable policies and the gradual improvement of rural market factors. Still, the advantages of cost efficiency also gradually decrease.
The utilization of wild food is well known in many developing countries including Tanzania, but its relationship with the people's health situation has not been well-researched. This article analyzed the correlation between the intake of wild food and health situation based on answers from 253 villagers to questionnaire interviews in 3 areas of Tanzania. For health situations, the Swahili version of the global subjective evaluation SF-12 for adults was used. Correlation and multiple regression analysis with other indicators related to age, sex, food production, frequency of staple food intake, and subjective poverty/welfare status, and cross-tabulation were implemented. In a semi-arid village of Dodoma with a generally low intake of wild food, respondents with a higher intake of wild food in the rainy season had a good evaluation of General Health (GH). The utilization of leafy vegetables in the season may have positively influenced their health. In an inland village of Lindi, respondents with a high intake of wild food in both seasons had a high evaluation of Physical Function (PF). The diverse variety of wild food may have contributed to their health, but there is also a possibility that their high physical function may have allowed them to collect wild food. In a coastal village of Lindi, respondents with higher intake of wild food had poorer health: Role Emotion (RE) in the dry season; Role Physical (RP), Vitality (VT) in the rainy season. While the location of the wild food in the residential area may have influenced, various reasons need to be further investigated. The research highlighted different correlations between villages, and the positive influence of wild food intake can further be investigated for promotion in low consumption areas for health benefits.
This study aims to understand the evolution of students' aspirations in relation to their backgrounds by looking at high school students' career plans and individual characteristics. It contributes to the ongoing discussion on the role of individuals' backgrounds in school to work transition in developing countries. High school students in the Itasy region of Madagascar were interviewed to this end. They were asked about their career plans and how they would adjust them to fit their actual contexts. The findings showed that: (1) Some students had stable aspirations regardless of reality; (2) Some lowered their expectations based on the experiences and observations of their family members; (3) Some students would engage in entrepreneurship if they were free to choose; and (4) Others considered self-employment a viable alternative. The evolution of their choice depends on internal and external factors. Those who lower their expectations could be better prepared for school to work transition compared to those who are rigid in their plans.
This study examines women's empowerment among small-scale processors of mixed porridge flour (‘lishe’ in Swahili) in the Morogoro region of Tanzania. Lishe, which also means ‘nutrition’ in Swahili, is said to be a developed version of indigenous porridge flour in this area, and was commercialised at the time when HIV/AIDS was prevalent. With considerable external support from donors, small-scale woman processors of food (including lishe) have been very active in creating and expanding their businesses. They have also formed groups and shared techniques and information about the market, and have distributed loans among themselves. It is difficult for women to be empowered individually, but by forming groups and with support from external actors, they are becoming empowered together. Under pressure from government authorities and consumers to satisfy requirements for food safety, they are now engaged in a collective effort to develop appropriate techniques for processing their products and adequate foundations for that processing. By working together, they can foresee the possibility of formalising their businesses.
The international humanitarian assistance scheme has been reformed during the last three decades since the end of the Cold War. Due to the increase of internal warfare in the post-Cold War period originating from differences in social factors such as ethnicities, languages, and cultures, humanitarian assistance was required to transform from simply delivering goods and services for victims to addressing the root causes of conflicts. In order to do so, the international community has been discussing how to reinforce continuum from peace building to humanitarian assistance, then to development assistance. While some negative impacts by new humanitarian assistance have been pointed out such as the politicization of humanitarian assistance may be accelerated, the author rather takes the transformation as progress from his experience in actual humanitarian operations which is supposed to be politically agenda free. In order to combat increasing humanitarian crisis with limited resources, taking into consideration how to end humanitarian assistance in one place is inevitable.
However, in order to further improve the humanitarian assistance, negative impacts that the transformation has generated should be analyzed and preventative measures should be taken. One of the possible negative impacts is unfairness in assistance that may happen due to strong international attention to countries that require peace building assistance, mainly countries that have experienced internal warfare. While efforts to strengthen a linkage or coherence among peace building, humanitarian assistance, and development assistance have been actively sought, humanitarian needs in “peace places” might have been put aside.
This paper analyzes how the “assistance gap” occurs and how to prevent it from happening taking the Timor Island as a case study location where the international community has been conducting a full course of supports from peace building to humanitarian assistance and then to development assistance in its eastern half while its western half has not received any assistance.