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OHNUMA Susumu Professor

Human Sciences / Behavioral Science
Specialized Field
Environmental Social Psychology
Research Subject
Social dilemma, Environmental Behavior, cooperation, consensus construction, social decision, citizen participation
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Lab. Letters: Messages from the Laboratory

What would a society with ideal waste disposal look like? Emphasizing processes leading to consensus-building

The crux of my research is the realization of cooperation in a large scale society. Take, for example, the policy making for the household waste management in Sapporo. We should not focus on the controversy such as whether the fee for garbage collection should be implemented or not; alternatively, we should find a common goal acceptable for everyone in which citizens can determine a shared recognition of their ideal society with respect to waste disposal. We attach weight to the processes to build a consensus, creating opportunities where groups and individuals having different interests and values can exchange their opinions.

Research methods consist of two processes: One is onsite surveys in which we make trips to garbage collection points in communities, and the other is experiments to demonstrate the influence of a social structure through role-playing games where we recreate certain situations. These interactive approaches between real society and simulated society are very essential characteristics of social psychology, which aims to reveal micro-macro dynamics of human beings and the societies.

  • A participatory workshop of citizens about waste management policy making in Sapporo
  • Facilities at a waste paper wholesaler, where inappropriate garbage is separated by hand and machine

Growing big at the crossroads where international researchers meet

Each society may have different aspects and theories for solving problems, but I’ve found out through previous research that a good theory applies to every society, and I believe that a theory which can stand the test of every society is really authentic. Of course, what’s authentic can’t be seen easily. That’s why I pay full attention to real life, with the curious stance of “enjoying the unintelligible.”

Department of Behavioral Science, a hub for Center for Experimental Research in Social Sciences, plays a role as a crossroads where international researchers, from young to veteran, meet. Our department also has a tradition of researchers inspiring each other by exchanging ideas straightforwardly. It’s the ideal environment for ambitious researchers, and I put my words into action by fostering “world-class human resources.”

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