Re-interpreting tradition: relational ethics in a Japanese rural community

Principal researcher: Ricardo Santos Alexandre

Research group: Practices and Politics of Culture


Relationality | Ethics | Tradition | Hermeneutic phenomenology

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)






In this project I intend to investigate both theoretically and ethnographically the ethical dimension of human relationality in a Japanese rural community. In Japan, the tradition underlying the popular concept furusato (home town) comprises an undeniable affective and nostalgic dimension and shows us the significance that the rural world and its lifestyle play in Japanese society. Starting with a critique to the idea of "the invention of traditions", based on a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, I aim to explore the implicit presence of relationality in the tradition of furusato. Instead of explaining relationality through mental/cognitive conceptualizations or processes, as Anthropology have invited us to do, I want to understand it in its relational becoming and in its "I-with-the-world" moments. This inquiry will have as its general goal a reassessment, of ethical and moral nature, not only of how we deal with interpersonal relations, but also of how we constitute ourselves in our relation with the world and nature.


Full members

Filipe Verde

Practices and Politics of Culture