The Aftermaths of the Tohoku Disaster: From the Social Sphere to Individual Life Choices and Psychological Outcomes

Shira Taube Dayan (The University of Haifa)
Marie Weishaupt (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin)
Julia Gerster (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin)
Brigitte Steger (The University of Cambridge)
Brigitte Steger (The University of Cambridge)
Anthropology and Sociology
Bloco 1, Piso 1, Sala 1.10
Start time:
1 September, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The panel focuses on the aftermaths of the 2011 Tohoku chain of disasters still evident in Japan today, as reflected in the dynamics of social ties of local communities, in risk-perceptions of self-evacuated families and regarding the psychological coping of the affected populations to the youngest.

Long abstract:

The Tohoku Disaster that occurred in March 2011 (also known as the Great East Japan Earthquake) consisted of an unprecedented series of events which impacts will probably last in Japan for years to come. This began with one of the most powerful earthquakes to have hit the country in recorded history, wreaking havoc and triggering destructive tsunami waves. Those were responsible for the many casualties and extensive infrastructural destruction, first and foremost among them the severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The nuclear accident caused the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and the threat of radiation in the area. Each of these disasters impacts, and in cases their cumulative effects, are still very evident in different aspects of life among the local community members. This panel is concerned with the Tohoku disaster outcomes on people everyday lives, in their rapidly changing social environment, in self-managed family units and among young individuals psychologically coping with childhood in the shadow of these events. The first paper explores the dynamics of social ties in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures employing sociological institutionalism to investigate the role of cultural aspects for post 3.11 social recovery and challenge the understanding of "recovery" as a restoration of the pre-disaster state of communities. The second paper examines how contrasting discourses on risk in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident have created a drift in the meaning of social roles within families affected by the accident, especially in the case of self-evacuees, using sociological and discursive institutionalism. The last paper investigates the internal psychological experiences of young individuals as they are studied in the field of children psycho-trauma following natural disasters. While employing a comprehensive psycho-cultural perspective, it aims to shade further light on this field's current needs and methodological implications, with relevancy to Japan.