Reference Web for Social Research - Department of Sociology, Faculty of Letters, Konan University
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5 Fieldwork [Japanese]
5-3 The Significance of the Experiment - Connection through Communication


5-3-0 Preface

Mugiko Nishikawa
haruwa@center.konan-u.ac.jp
Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Konan University
Department of Sociology, Konan University
Okamoto 8-9-1, Higashinadaku,
Kobe, 658-8501, Japan
Translated by Saharu Shoji

The Aim of this Research Project - the Possibility of Creating a Local Community in Urban Space

What is a local community in cities where various people assemble and migrate? The aim of this project is to search for possibilities to create a local community on the basis of tangible case studies. A local community is formed by spontaneous organization and connections among residents, therefore, the local community suggests that it is not solely constructed by familial or apparent neighbourhood connections. The project and its fieldwork focus on the activities of a community centre located in a ward of the international city, London; namely the Grove Neighbourhood Centre in the former Grove Ward in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and its surrounding areas. The former Grove Ward has been divided into Ravenscourt Park and the Hammersmith Broadway Ward. Local residents established the Grove Neighbourhood Centre in 1973 and it is a non-profit organization. The project attempts to research and carry out fieldwork by participating in the local community, thus it returns the knowledge and information acquired by fieldwork to community members in order for them to promote local activities.

The Details of the Research Project and the Structure of this Homepage

I was given an opportunity to research abroad in London for one year from September 2001 by Konan University. Subsequently, I carried out fieldwork for one month every August from 2003 to 2005. Since the 2004 fiscal year, the project has been subsidized by gAnthropological Research on the Possibility to Create a Local Community in Urban Space,h Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Grant-in-Aid for Science Research (Grant Category: Basic Research) for four years. In the 2004 and 2005 fiscal year, the project participated in gCultural Research on the Possibility to Use Audio-Visual Data on the Premise of Applying them to University Education,h (Representative: Saburo Morita, Konan University), Grant-in-Aid for Science Research (Grant Category: Basic Research). Since the 2003 fiscal year, as a sociology lecturer, I have been participating in gReference Web for Social Researchh which was set up by the Cyber-Campus Network Project of the Education and Research Centre for Information Science of the Konan University. KNOSPEAR Inc is responsible for making the homepage. This is based on an experiment to apply the technique of fieldwork to lectures and private studies as gteaching materialsh. This homepage was updated in the 2005 fiscal year. The experiment is composed of three parts as follows:
5-1 Basics - A Guide to Fieldwork - Basic introduction for fieldwork beginners.
5-2 Case Study - London, Local Community in Urban Space, and Community Centre - Using the current research project as a case study of fieldwork and keeping the homepage up-to-date.
5-3 The Significance of the Experiment - Connection through Communicating - Opening up the opportunity for communication by publishing the English project report online.

Dynamic Report - Connection through Communicating

Section 5-3 gThe Significance of the Experiment - Connection through Communicatingh is based on my essay gThe Grove Neighbourhood Centre in Hammersmith, London: Successful Achievement of Forgotten Urban Community Development in the 1970sh (Mugiko Nishikawa, Konan Journal of Social Sciences, Literature Edition 131, Department of Sociology Issue, 2004, pp. 79-108). During the research in the summer 2004 in London, I distributed the English version of my essay (trans. Saharu Shoji) to local residents who were concerned with the project in order to collect new information and material. In response, they provided comments and suggestions which led to further discussions. I have revised the report shown in Section 5-3 according to the views of the residents and added various documents such as photographs, maps, statistical charts and newsletters. It contains recordings of parts of the interviews. I intend to create a dynamic report by utilizing the advantage of digital media. Moreover, I provide knowledge and materials from the fieldwork on the internet to share the information widely. I planned to develop the research project by communicating with the people and connecting them with information. This section of the homepage attempts to become a realm of fieldwork on the net beyond any specific region such as England or Japan.

Acknowledgement

I would like to show my appreciation for the people of the Grove Neighbourhood Centre who have been kindly giving me support and cooperation both officially and privately. The residents of Hammersmith told me the valuable stories. The Hammersmith and Fulham Archives and Local History Centre and the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall offered advice on the research and provided materials. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Konan University who gave me such an important opportunity and a research grant.


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