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SURVIVING THE DISASTERS: An Ethnographic Account of Japan 3.11 Survivors’ Coping Strategies with the Risk of Radiation

De Togni, Giulia; (2019) SURVIVING THE DISASTERS: An Ethnographic Account of Japan 3.11 Survivors’ Coping Strategies with the Risk of Radiation. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This ethnographic study critically engages with recent theoretical writings on risk, affects and informal life politics by way of investigating the Fukushima survivors’ coping strategies with the nuclear crisis. In Japan, conflicting information about the levels of radiation released and the likely health effects, forced the local populations to self-determine whether to leave, or to stay and face possible long-term biological repercussions. Different interpretations of risk resulted in social tensions on multiple levels in Fukushima, particularly along gender lines. This monograph links such local struggles to the frictions between two incommensurable stories, one of control and normalcy where risks are domesticated and absorbed into the social, and the other voicing concerns that challenge technologies of abstraction and regimes of risk of toxic exposure. Nuclear disasters reveal concealed problems of risk insecurity, and demand the affected populations to actively cope with changing political, moral and biomedical circumstances. Transformative social processes led the Fukushima survivors to apply rational decisions to their embodied sensibilities surrounding radiation, and to adopt a uniquely reflexive future orientation which is embedded in their practices of self-government, and in their new expanded horizons of expectation as neoliberal agents of social change. Through my collection of the Fukushima survivors’ narratives, I contribute to building cultural continuity and historical awareness of how these people have survived, and have restored their family and community life in zones of ruination and state abandonment. Here, personal stories of displacement and suffering, but also of resilience and hope find their voice. Moreover, through a detailed comparison with the conditions of the Chernobyl victims, I place current events in Japan in a longer historical context and wider geographical setting. Ultimately, I reinforce understandings of post-nuclear disaster societies, and build-up an archive of social and cultural changes in times of crisis.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: SURVIVING THE DISASTERS: An Ethnographic Account of Japan 3.11 Survivors’ Coping Strategies with the Risk of Radiation
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request. - Some third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
Keywords: Fukushima, Risk, Disaster, Anthropology, Gender, Power, Agency, Japan, Resilience
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071426
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