ASI undertakes culturally-based studies premised on research as integral to education, organization and action toward social transformation.
At this time of economic globalization, ASI recognizes the ever-increasing gap between the monetarily rich and the monetarily poor. Research is a way to "honor human experience" by highlighting the empowering efforts of people towards integral development.
In the context of scientific inquiry, ASI blends the quantitative and qualitative approaches to surface the many facets of a social phenomenon. Research findings need to be disseminated to both policy makers and, in popular forms, to social practitioners.
The social consequences of the Asian economic crisis are most acutely observed in the rising incidence of poverty which cannot be over dramatized. Being monetarily poor in a highly complex monetized society summons major institutional spheres to examine the debilitating impact of poverty not only in terms of quantifiable, material dimension but on the oft-neglected, unquestioned assumptions operative in people’s life-world that may influence their state of well-being. These assumptions touch on matters appealing to people’s finer sensitivities (the value of relationship, of self-expression and self-esteem) that interface with material poverty.
Culture, being the arena where values and beliefs as intangible forces shaping people’s lives) are an integral part, is a strong socializing agent for the individual. Upon learning the basic ingredients of life that root him/her distinctly into a given culture, he/she emerges with a unique personality where the influences of such culture are configured. In the desire to proclaim who the Filipino/Asian is, set within the broader tapestry of Asian cultures and trend towards a globalizing civilization, there is need to study the following dimensions of culture:
- On Family
- On Religion
- On Food, Cultural Feast, Art and Rituals of Celebration as symbolic approaches to understanding the expressions of the Filipino/Asian soul and character
- On Gender Studies
- On Identification of "Wisdom Keepers and Sharers" in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia
- On Culture and Environment
The strength of every society lies in its human resource. Philippine society may be seen as a composite of various human sectors: the youth, professionals, artists, farmers, fisherfolk, industrial workers, indigenous groups whose collective aspirations, giftedness and uniqueness fuel their efforts in seeking paths leading to development of self-determination. In response to the challenge set by globalizing forces, there is need to study or document change processes being facilitated in the various sectors which, taken together, constitute a unique tapestry of human initiatives toward an economic, social, political, information and communication order.
With developments in the terrain of information, media and communications, one stands beholden to the wonders that technology has ever produced. But a critical reflection of the way these technological wonders have impact on our lives leads the critical observer asking whether the content of media communications and information technology serves the interest and general well-being of its consumers, especially children and youth whose young minds are vulnerable to the influence of life-promoting or death-dealing images.
Seen in a different light, understanding how communication process evolving from the group may challenge media experts and social scientists to reflect, examine, and test approaches to communication in which language and rituals being the finer expressions of the wisdom of the TAO may be integrated in a culturally-rooted paradigm of development.
Institutions being structures created to respond to people’s life-needs are crucial to life promotion. Hence, assessing the extent to which major institutional spheres (schools, churches, religious congregations and businesses) have translated into actual, workable and responsive development programs their avowed commitment to the well-being of the materially-poor is an important agenda.
Moreover, a significant stride in the religious dimension of national life is the effort of the Church in accompanying the faithful toward renewed integral evangelization. In this light, there is need to examine and reflect on how far churches (parishes or dioceses) have realized their visions inspired by their ‘option for the poor’ and how they have facilitated transformative processes as gleaned through various ministries, basic christian communities or christians in basic human communities, inculturation and social action.