Regimes of Disaster Truth in the Aftermath of 3.11

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Regimes of Disaster Truth in the Aftermath of 3.11
Stream: Sociology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Natalia Novikova, Tamagawa University, Japan (organizer, presenter, chair)
Pablo Figueroa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan (discussant)
Julia Gerster, Tohoku University, Japan (presenter)
Yegane Ghezelloo, Kobe University, Japan (presenter)
Nanako Shimizu, Utsunomiya University, Japan (presenter)
Manuela Gertrud Hartwig, University of Tsukuba, Japan (presenter)


Disasters always cause panic, involve casualties and take a heavy toll on the lives of affected communities. However, some regions and groups of people are being affected by disasters more severely than others. This panel brings together original papers that explore the link between disaster and justice. By discussing whose narratives gain media attention and official recognition in times of disaster and whose witnessing authorities are dismissed, the contributors are trying to understand what forces influence the regimes of disaster truth and how they create, reinforce, and potentially undermine disaster inequities. Drawing on the case of March 11, 2011, triple disasters—earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown - panelists address various ways of understanding class-, gender-, and rurality-based inequities in the disaster recovery process and offer strategic insights on how we can contribute to or help dismantle disaster inequalities.
Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Tohoku region, Julia Gerster and Yegane Ghezelloo analyze disaster recovery process by conceptualizing various factors and dialogic spaces that are utilized by or available to communities to assert their different subjectivities of affectedness. By elaborating on the frames of environmental justice, Nanako Shimizu and Natalia Novikova discuss how citizens from the Kanto region have been negotiating their rights to question official narratives of affectedness. Finally, Manuela Hartwig deliberates on the relationship between scientists and policymakers in the 3.11 controversy, thus offering a better understanding of how the possibilities for environmental justice are structured and constrained in information networks.