Research Summary

Professor Tsutsui’s research interests lie in political/comparative sociology, social movements, globalization, human rights, and Japanese society. More specifically, he has conducted (1) cross-national quantitative analyses on how human rights ideas and instruments have expanded globally and impacted local politics and (2) qualitative case studies of the impact of global human rights on Japanese politics. His current projects examine a) changing conceptions of nationhood and minority rights in national constitutions and their impact on actual practices, b) global expansion of corporate social responsibility and its impact on corporate behavior, c) experimental surveys on public understanding about human rights, and d) campus policies and practices around human rights.

His research on globalization of human rights and its impact on local politics has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and other social science journals. He has also published Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan (Oxford University Press), and a co-edited volume (with Alwyn Lim) called Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World (Cambridge University Press 2015). He has been a recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, National Science Foundation grants, the SSRC/CGP Abe Fellowship, Stanford Japan Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, and other grants as well as awards from American Sociological Association sections on Global and Transnational Sociology (2010, 2013), Human Rights (2017), Asia and Asian America (2018), and Collective Behavior and Social Movements (2018).

Books

Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan

Rights Make Might
Since the late 1970s, the three most salient minority groups in Japan - the politically dormant Ainu, the active but unsuccessful Koreans, and the former outcaste group of Burakumin - have all expanded their activism despite the unfavorable domestic political environment. In Rights Make Might, Kiyoteru Tsutsui examines why, and finds an answer in the galvanizing effects of global human rights on local social movements. Tsutsui chronicles the transformative impact of global human rights ideas and institutions on minority activists, which changed their understandings about their standing in Japanese society and propelled them to new international venues for political claim making. The global forces also changed the public perception and political calculus in Japan over time, catalyzing substantial gains for their movements. Having benefited from global human rights, all three groups repaid their debt by contributing to the consolidation and expansion of human rights principles and instruments outside of Japan. Drawing on interviews and archival data, Rights Make Might offers a rich historical comparative analysis of the relationship between international human rights and local politics that contributes to our understanding of international norms and institutions, social movements, human rights, ethnoracial politics, and Japanese society.

Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World

Corporate Social Responsibility in a Globalizing World
Why do corporations increasingly engage in good deeds that do not immediately help their bottom line, and what are the consequences of these activities? This volume examines these questions by drawing on historical documents, interviews, qualitative case comparison, fieldwork, multiple regression, time-series analysis and multidimensional scaling, among others. Informed by neoinstitutionalism and political economy approaches, the authors examine how global and local dimensions of contemporary corporate social responsibility (CSR) intersect with each other. Their rigorous empirical analyses produce insights into the historical roots of suspicions concerning cross-societal economic actors, why and how global CSR frameworks evolved into current forms, how conceptions of CSR vary across societies, what motivates corporations to participate in CSR frameworks, what impacts such participation might have on corporate reputation and actual practices, whether CSR activities shield corporations from targeting by boycott campaigns or invite more criticism, and what alternative responses corporations might have to buying into CSR principles.

Selected Publications

Contact Me

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