Responding to Knowledge Gaps in Food Safety Issues: Citizen Science after 3.11 in Japan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Aya H. KIMURA , Women's Studies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
The 3.11 nuclear accident resulted in concerns about food contamination. The government released little data and citizen groups took the issue into their own hands to fulfill knowledge gaps on food safety issues, establishing organizations to test their own food. Based on qualitative interviews and a survey of these “citizen labs,” the paper examines how the lay people’s testing efforts were structured in response to food safety threats. Who led the initiatives, what were their motivations, and how did they test food in a different/same manner as the “official” experts in the government? Furthermore, to what extent, was their “science-doing” linked to a larger political mobilization, or did it simply remain as a personal strategy to ensure well-being of their own and their families? Drawing on theories of citizen science, the paper examines politics of knowledge gap in the aftermath of nuclear accident and citizen responses and their potential for politicization.