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Sociotechnical Data Studies Saloon #2: Makoto Takahashi

SHAPE is happy to announce the second Sociotechnical Data Studies Saloon with Makoto Takahashi (School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich).

Info about event


Tuesday 17 January 2023,  at 12:00 - 13:00


Aarhus University (5347-230)


SHAPE - Shaping Digital Citizenship

SHAPE hereby invites everyone interested to the second Sociotechnical Data Studies Saloon with lecturer Makoto Takahashi, School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich who will give a talk on Participation in Nuclear Emergencies (PINE). The talk will take place at Katrinebjerg, Aarhus University (building 5347, room 230), but remote participation is also possible - please contact Kirsten Brohm at kb@cc.au.dk if you wish to receive a Zoom link. 


1) A brief presentation by Makoto Takahashi (15-20 min.) 

2) 20 min. dialogue with a designated commentator (Kasper Schiølin)

3) 20 min. of discussion and Q&A. 


Makato holds a PhD from Cambridge University where he defended his dissertation on expert authority and low public trust in September 2011. The project was based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Japan in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. As a graduate student, Makato was assigned visiting fellowships at both Waseda University and Harvard University, and his work has been acclaimed internationally both in academic and political fields.

Title & abstract:

Participation in Nuclear Emergencies (PINE)

Digital citizenship and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster

Calls for more open and democratic modes of governance have long been a feature of the social sciences, achieving great success from the 1990s onwards. Ours is an age in which calls for more public participation are commonplace, and many imagine it to be a panacea for political disaffection. The OECD has framed public participation as the “missing link” in modern societies, for example, while Demos argues that it will stem the rise of authoritarian populism. The field of nuclear politics is no exception to this trend. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, commentators hailed digital platforms as enabling new forms of citizenship, which would allow publics to shape the management of the disaster more directly; while institutions such as the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) have promoted “co-expertise” as a means to combat public distrust. Rather than echo these calls for more public participation, my project aims to examine the “participatory turn” itself – examining the forms of participation that have been celebrated and the forms of (digital) “citizen” they aim to produce. Noting that there is no precise Japanese analogue for the English word “citizen”, the project compares: the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes’ (MCAN) efforts to mobilise cosmopolitan citizen (shimin) protestors; SAFECAST’s efforts to produce citizen scientists (shimin kagakusha); the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s efforts to engage local citizens (jumin) as “co-experts”; and the right wing forums production of “alternative science” produced by national citizens (kokumin).