Accepted Paper:

Writing against contamination: anthropological analysis of agriculture and research under radioactive threat  

Author:

Kohei Inose (Meiji Gakuin University)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on the research about farming methods aimed at reducing the absorption of radiological materials, I explore how people construct counter-practices against nuclear accidents and ask what the public function of ethnographic description is.

Paper long abstract:

Reality is always in danger of being disrupted whenever actual events diverge too much from established categories along with the institutions themselves. The experience of facing radioactive contamination caused by the accident at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant has touched the hearts and minds of the people affected by the disaster. The nature of radiation, which is silent, invisible, and untouchable, prevents people's clear understanding of its reality, dividing their opinions and attitudes toward their lives. In the face of this nuclear hazard, people who were speaking on behalf of the state and science failed to perform their expected role of convincing the population. The conventions holding people together around a sense of reality broke down, and consequently, people began to combine fragments of knowledge at hand in order to live in an uncertain world. This presentation is based on fieldwork with researchers and farmers in Tohoku. In this crisis situation, they contingently modify their own ideas through heterogeneous networked connections with other researchers and farmers, and with social activists and government officers, becoming able to make unplanned connections between previously unconnected places like Fukushima, Tokyo and Chernobyl. In this analysis, I explore how people construct counter-practices against nuclear accidents and ask what the public function of ethnographic description is in this case.

Panel P024
Practicing a public anthropology in communities devastated by the East Japan Disaster