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2014 研究助成 Research Grant Program   [ A 共同研究助成   ]

The Transcultural Research for a New Concept of "Dignity of the Elderly" in Respect of the Present Condition of the Social Care for the Elderly (Including Persons with Dementia) and for a New Model of the Welfare Society


Abstract of Project Proposal

     As it is clear from the first article of the Japanese "Care Insurance Law (1997)", the concept of dignity plays a central role within the social insurance systems of Japan. But the concept of dignity in Japan is not clearly determined, and also in the West this concept will be discussed again and reexamined deeply in recent years. Especially the care insurance system of Japan would come to a crisis as a whole in such a situation and become unstable and unsustainable in some cases. At the present time the shrinking of the Japanese society already began because of the declining birthrate and high aging. Further great many baby boomers, that are characterized by a high awareness of their pluralistic values and their own rights, become high aging from now in the long run and the elderly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake have been placed in a very difficult condition now. If one considers such social problems seriously, so the social insurance system of Japan should be reformed deeply. Historically this system was introduced into Japan following the German concept of the social insurance system. We will take this historical fact into well account in our research project and then promote our research in cooperation with a German research group from the transcultural perspective. 
     Hence our research theme is defined as the following: in the first place we determine the new and flexible concept of "dignity of the elderly (including persons with dementia)" definitely, which is well adaptable to the specific conditions of the elderly and also is best based on the pluralistic concept of values on an analysis and comparison of these present conditions in Japan and Germany from the transcultural perspective. And then we clarify a new model of the social care system as a part of the welfare society, which enables their own dignified lives of the elderly (including persons with dementia) with regional and cultural characteristics on the basis of a new model of consensus corresponding to the diverse needs of the elderly. 


Summary of Final Report

・ プロジェクトの課題は、「(認知症患者を含む)高齢者ケアの現状を踏まえた高齢者の尊厳の比較文化的研究とそれにもとづく福祉社会の新たな可能性の探究」である。われわれの研究グループはこれまで主に文科省科学研究費などの研究助成を得て、欧米の尊厳概念に関連する研究を行ってきた。その場合に海外の研究者の中では特にドイツの研究者と密接な関係を築くことができたので、ドイツにおける尊厳概念の議論を中心に分析するようになった。そして、ここから明らかになったことは、1)ドイツの尊厳概念と英米の尊厳概念とは内実が異なり、前者は絶対的で客観的な価値を表し、後者は相対的で主観的な価値を表現していること、それに対して2)日本では尊厳概念の規定が明確ではないこと、しかし他方で3)厚労省のHPでは「高齢者の尊厳」という欧米にはまだない新しい概念を提起しており、それがドイツでは大きな関心を持たれて研究テーマとして論じられていることなどである。そこで科研費の研究を継承し補完するという観点から、3)の問題に特化した研究課題を設定して申請した。日本の「介護保険法」でも尊厳概念は中心的役割を担っているが、その概念規定は必ずしも明確ではなく、とりわけ「高齢者の尊厳」という場合に不明確であると言わざるをえない。こうした現状は日本の介護保険制度を不透明で不安定なものにしかねないので、高齢者介護の現場の情況とその日独比較を踏まえながら尊厳概念、特に「高齢者の尊厳」の規定を理論的に明確にして高齢者の尊厳ある生活を保障するケアシステムを形成するための理論的基礎を構築することを研究目的とした。
・ この研究プロジェクトでわれわれは、研究会・研究打ち合わせをできるだけ定期的に開催して、研究グループの日独の研究者をはじめとして、国内外の研究者でこの研究課題に関連した研究を行っている研究者を招聘してその研究成果を検討したり新たな知見を提供してもらったりすることを研究方法の中心に位置づけて研究を実施した。理論的および表象論的分析は古典および現代の哲学書や文学作品などを研究対象としたが、哲学関係では特にカントの著作が大きな意味を持った。また、日独の介護現場の分析に関しては主にドイツの社会学者によって行われたが、その成果をさらに日本国内の研究と突き合わせて検討した。
・ 理論的にはカントの価値論に依拠して尊厳概念を絶対的価値と基礎づけることが可能な方途が見出せたので、それを理論的支柱にした論文集をドイツの出版社から出版することになった(そのための研究会をこの7月に一橋大学などで開催した)。発刊は2018年の予定である。また、これまでの研究会で発表された研究の中からいくつかをピックアップするとともに、新たに書き下ろした論考を加えた論文集もこの11月に国内の大学出版局から刊行予定である。両者の論文集は「高齢者の尊厳」を考える上で基礎的な議論を提供することになるが、基本的には主に研究者などの専門家を対象にしたものである。しかしまた同時に、これまでの研究成果をより分かり易く市民に届けるために市民講座の企画も交渉中である。
The purpose of the project has been (1) to carry out a cross-cultural comparative study of the dignity of elderly people (including dementia patients) within present-day geriatric care and (2) to explore new possibilities of welfare society based on the results of the study. With generous support mainly from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, our research group has been engaged in research related to the concept of dignity in the West. We have been successful in establishing close ties with foreign, particularly German scholars, and we have thus especially focused on analyzing the discussions on the concept of dignity in Germany. Our research has revealed that 1) the German conception of “dignity” differs from that in Britain and the United States; while in Germany “dignity” means an absolute and objective value, in the Anglo-Saxon context it is a relative and subjective value. By contrast, 2) the definition of dignity in Japan is imprecise and unclear. On the other hand, however, 3) the homepage of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare makes use of the new term “dignity of the elderly”, a category that does not yet exist in the Western context. This has attracted the interest and been taken up as a research topic by our colleagues in Germany. In order to complete and complement the research so far, as it has been supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi), we have thus conceived a research theme that especially focuses on problem (3) for our application.
Although the concept of dignity plays a central role in the Japanese “Public Nursing Care Insurance Law”, its conceptual definition is not entirely clear. In particular, the conception of “dignity of elderly people” remains undefined. As the current situation risks to make the Japanese care system intransparent and insecure, the research aims (a) to theoretically define “dignity of elderly people” while considering and comparing the factual circumstances of geriatric care in both the Japanese and German context, and (b) to establish a theoretical basis for the formation of a care system that guarantees dignified living circumstances of elderly people.
Within the frame-work of our project, we have conducted research by regularly holding conferences and workshops and inviting scholars from Japan and abroad who are conducting research related to the project’s theme, -- including German and Japanese scholars from our research group --, to present and discuss the results of their work and thereby offer new perspectives on our topic. Theoretical and representational analyses took up a variety of classical and contemporary philosophical writings and literary works, but within the philosophical tradition, it is Kant’s work that has been found to be of particular significance. Empirical research on nursing care sites in Japan and Germany have mainly been conducted by German sociologists, but we have examined their results by comparing them with Japanese research in the field.
Since we have found it possible to establish the concept of dignity as absolute value by theoretically relying on Kant’s theory of value, we are now preparing to publish a collection of articles adopting this theoretical framework with a German publisher (a conference was held at Hitotsubashi University in July for this purpose). Publication is scheduled for 2018. In addition, a collection of papers, including research papers previously presented at some of our workshops as well several newly written articles, will be published with a university press in Japan in November this year. Both collections provide basic theoretical expositions which are crucial for thinking about “dignity of elderly people”. They are primarily intended for scholars and specialists. However, we are presently also negotiating and planning public lectures and courses for interested citizens which would take a more accessible form, so that our research results may reach a wider audience.



2014 研究助成 Research Grant Program   【A 共同研究助成  】
助成番号(Grant Number)
題目(Project Title)
The Transcultural Research for a New Concept of "Dignity of the Elderly" in Respect of the Present Condition of the Social Care for the Elderly (Including Persons with Dementia) and for a New Model of the Welfare Society
加藤 泰史 / Yasushi Kato
Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University
助成金額(Grant Amount)