IV-12. “In Search of an Alternative Model of Living Together in the Globalized World: A Preliminary Case Study of an Organic Farm in Davao City, the Philippines” (R1 FY2019)

  • Project Leader : Aoyama Waka (The University of Tokyo, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia)
  • Collaborators : Nakanishi Toru (The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
  • : Kishi Kenta (Akita University of Art, Graduate School of Transdisciplinary Arts)
  • : Fujioka Hiroshi (The University of Tokyo, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia)
  • : Shimizu Hiromu (Kansai University, Faculty of Policy Studies)
  • : Mario Lopez (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)

Outline of Research

This research project is designed as a preliminary study to explore the role of organic farming in promoting human well-being and revitalizing local societies. It is also meant to be part of preparations to apply for the Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences Research Grant in two years. The research team consists of six scholars from humanities, social sciences, art, and digital archive studies, who are all experienced fieldworkers in area studies. From FY 2019 to FY 2020, we will conduct an intensive literature review to examine the following aspects of organic farming: its profitability, its impacts on social relations, and its impacts on farming culture. Field research on an organic farm in Davao City in the Philippines will also be conducted as a reference. In doing so, we will explore conceptual and analytical frameworks that could be applied to empirical studies of organic farming in the Global South.


The purpose of this research is to explore the role of organic farming in promoting human well-being and revitalizing local societies. In particular, it aims to suggest an analytical framework to understand the situation of the lower income class in “developing countries” (Global South) and to suggest an alternative model of “living together”—which is more like “conviviality” than simple “symbiosis” —as a survival strategy. Although many of those who belong to the lower income class have escaped from a standard of living below the poverty line, they also face a weakening of social relations in daily life.

Therefore, the significance of this research lies in exploring such problems by studying the role of organic farming in local societies. Through an extensive literature review and discussion among the members of this research group and with other stakeholders, we will examine questions concerning the following issues: profitability and accounting of organic farming, the impact of organic farming on social relations, and the revitalization of farming culture. In addition, we will also conduct a small-scale field study on an organic farm in Davao City, Philippines, using a budget other than this research grant, so that we will have a case to refer to while exploring the conceptual and analytical frameworks.

The expected results of this research are as follows. First, we will clarify the normative and empirical arguments about organic farming. Based on this, we will elaborate our research questions and establish alternative hypotheses to study cases not only from the Philippines, but also from other countries and regions in the Global South. Second, we will reveal the results of the application of such hypotheses to the case of an organic farm in Davao City, Philippines, as a preliminary empirical study. Third, by revealing the process of our research as above, we will invite readers, especially those in area studies, to reconsider the meaning of what can be called a “slow” methodology supported by a “thick description” for area studies.

To disseminate our research activity, including both its process and results, we are planning to perform the following: conventional and/or artistic presentations for scholars, as well as the general public; contributions to academic journals such as Southeast Asian Studies, issued by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University; and an application for a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences. This will enable us to organize a larger research team, which will extend the current research to comparative studies of three nations around the pillar of the United States, namely Japan, the Philippines, and Mexico.


Visiting to an organic farm in Davao City, Philippine

Biogas production in the organic farm in Davao City, Philippine