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Title: The politics of disaster and their role in imagining an outside : understanding the rise of the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear movements
Author: Tamura, Azumi
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 4735
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2015
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Political disillusionment is widespread in contemporary Japanese society, despite people’s struggles in the recession. Our social relationships become entangled, and we can no longer clearly identify our interest in politics. The search for the outside of stagnant reality sometimes leads marginalised young people to a disastrous imaginary for social change, such as war and death. The imaginary of disaster was actualised in March 2011. The huge earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which triggered the largest wave of activism since the 1960s. Based on the author’s fieldwork on the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear movements in Tokyo, this thesis investigates how the disaster impacted people’s sense of agency and ethics, and ultimately explores the new political imaginary in postmodernity. The disaster revealed the interconnected nature of contemporary society. The thesis argues that their regret about their past indifference to politics motivated the protesters into social commitment without any totalising ideology or predetermined collective identity. They also found an ambiguity of the self, which is insufficient to know what should be done. Hence, they mobilise their bodies on to the streets, encountering others, and forcing themselves to feel and think. This is an ethical attitude, yet it simultaneously stems from the desire of each individual to make a difference to the self and society. The thesis concludes that the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear movements signify a new way of doing politics as endless experiments by collectively responding to an unexpected force from an outside in a creative way.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fukushima ; Social movement ; Contemporary Japan ; Postmodernity ; Political apathy ; Identity ; Emotion