Info on Globalisation and Japanese Organisational Culture

EastAsian Anthropologist MLへの著者からのメッセージ;

Dear Colleagues,

Please find information below on my new book.

Apologies for detailing the chapter subheadings but I suspect that they better represent what I'm trying to do than the chapter titles alone. (For this audience I thought that detail would be acceptable, and I just hope they format legibly.) Meanwhile, in the attachment, check out the cover by my friend Steve Byram. He ordinarily designs covers for jazz cds, but I managed to rope him in for this one. To come up with this he actually read the book... and, hopefully, you will too.

Of related interest, I noted on the Association of Asian Studies site that there will be a roundtable entitled 'Bringing Culture Back In? Japanese Political and Business Studies in the 21st Century' at the upcoming meeting in April. I won't be there, but think my book directly addresses the sort of problems proposed in the session, e.g., how the partnership between contemporary social science theory and area studies might be encouraged/ expanded. In the book I strongly, if briefly, critique the use, or abuse, of 'culture' in general business studies, while discussing at length the largely unnoticed but valuable input that Japan anthropology has made to the - albeit limited - interest of general anthropology in the study of organisations, and, therefore, modernity itself. (The fact that we in Japan anthropology have been studying schools, shrines, businesses, baseball teams, sumo stables, shrines/temples, etc. - ie, organisations - for decades should put our work at the centre of recent surges in general anthropological discourse on 'our'/modern societies these days.
Whether that is happening is a different matter, of course.) Meanwhile, though I'm more interested in general problems thrown up by (ideas about) 'globalisation' than regional studies, per se, based in detailed ethnography I do try to theorise how information, knowledge, etc., moves across space,
obviously important issues in Asia and across the world generally.

All the best,


Globalisation and Japanese Organisational Culture:

An Ethnography of a Japanese Corporation in France

Mitchell W. Sedgwick
Oxford Brookes University

Globalisation the global movement, and control, of products, capital, technologies, persons and images increasingly takes place through the work of organisations, perhaps the most powerful of which are multinational corporations. Based in an ethnographic analysis of cross-cultural social interactions in everyday workplace practices at a subsidiary of an elite, Japanese consumer electronics multinational in France, this book intimately examines, and theorises, contemporary global dynamics. Japanese corporate ‘know-how’ is described not simply as the combination of technological innovation riding on financial ‘clout’ but as a reflection of Japanese social relations, powerfully expressed in Japanese organisational dynamics. The book details how Japanese organisational power does and does not adapt in overseas settings: how Japanese managers and
engineers negotiate conflicts between their understanding of appropriate practices with those of local, non-Japanese staff in this case, French managers and engineers who hold their own distinctive cultural and organisational inclinations in the workplace.

The book argues that the insights provided by the intimate study of persons interacting within and
across organisations is crucial to a fulsome understanding of globalisation. This is assisted,
further, by a grounded examination of how ‘networks’ as social constructions are both expanded and bounded, a move which assists in collapsing the common reliance on micro and macro levels of analysis in considering global phenomena. The book poses important theoretical and methodological challenges for organisational studies as well as for analysis of the forces of globalisation by anthropologists and other social scientists.

Table of Contents

Globalisation and Japanese Organisational Culture: An Ethnography of a Japanese Corporation in France

Mitchell W. Sedgwick

Part I: Siting an Organisation

Chapter One:


Analytic Perspectives on Globalisation in Anthropology

The History and Disciplining of Japanese Organisational Studies

Japanese Corporations, ‘Knowledge-creation’ and the Problem of Cross-cultural Relations

Bringing across Cultures: An Innocent Constructing of Hybridity, and an Informed Rejection of the
Analytic Efficacy of ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’

Methodological Considerations for a Globalised Field

Chapter Two:
Japan’s Globalisations and a ‘Subsidiary’ in France

Five Rooms with Five Views (in a Factory)

The Political Economy of Japanese Investment in Manufacturing Abroad

Charting the Yama Corporation (in Europe)

Siting YamaMax

On the Ground at YamaMax

Producing Videotape

The Formal Organisational Structure of YamaMax

Part II: Organising Persons in Places

Chapter Three:
Personalising Socio-technical Relations





Monsieur Marchalot

Monsieur Legrand

Organising Persons, Cultures and Hierarchy

Re-circulating Productions


Chapter Four:
Translating Power in Hierarchy: Seen and Unseen Organising


Diversions of Production: Re-viewing a Test

Organising Knowledge of Organisations

Organising Power through Networks of 'Diffusion' and 'Translation'

Disorganising Assumptions: Re-viewing Cross-cultural Relations

Cross-cultural Efficacy and the Exaggerations of Language Analysis

Constructing Methods for Understanding Communicative Contingency

Diffusing Translations

Chapter Five:
Mobilising Architectures of Timing and Spacing: Ethnographies of Locations, Histories of Social


Making Social Relations: Taking Place, in Time


Creating Researchers

‘Coeval’ Analysis

Reaching Conclusions

Part III: Incorporating Cultures: Local Reductions, Global Repercussions

Chapter Six:
Circulating Others among Japanese Managers: Perceiving Difference, Explaining to Ourselves

Working the Intersubjective Social Whole

Idealised Japanese Manufacturing

Circulating the Fetishes of Production

Managerial Technology Transfer and the Hybrid Foreign Shopfloor

Circulating Others

The Pervasive Fictions of Seamlessness

Chapter Seven:
Circulating Others among Anthropologists: Perceiving Similarity, Examining Ourselves

Anthropology and the Work of Representational Aesthetics

Going Inside, Losing Touch

Going Global, or Staying at Home and Losing the Other

Author Biography
Mitchell W. Sedgwick is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, and Director of the Europe Japan Research Centre at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He was formerly Associate Director of the Program on US-Japan Relations, Harvard University, and Yasuda Fellow at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, and affiliated with King's College, University of Cambridge. During the 1980s Dr Sedgwick was a consulting organisational anthropologist in South East Asia and West Africa for the World Bank, and later worked in Cambodia on its first postwar election for the United Nations.

For further information on this volume, check this