Conflictual collaboration

Citizen science and the governance of radioactive contamination after the Fukushima nuclear disaster

by MAXIME POLLERI

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In the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, citizen scientists collectively tracked and monitored residual radioactivity in Japan, legitimizing alternative views to an official assessment of the radioactive contamination. But initial practices of resistance have evolved in collaboration with the official Japanese politics of radioactive governance, supporting hegemonic understandings of radiation danger and normative visions of postdisaster recovery. Civic resources used to resist and reinterpret official narratives of contamination end up reinforcing a state‐sponsored normalization of this disaster. Meanwhile, they become crucial techniques of neoliberal governmentality designed to govern the conduct of populations amid contaminated environments.

Technical instructions for assembling radiation‐monitoring devices at a 2016 workshop held by a Japanese citizen science network.
Technical instructions for assembling radiation‐monitoring devices at a 2016 workshop held by a Japanese citizen science network.