Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists: The Gender Politics of Food Contamination after Fukushima
Citizen Radiation-Measuring Organizations
Chapter 4 gives a profile of CRMOs in Japan, describing their origin, structure, membership, and testing achievements. The chapter’s emphasis is on CRMOs’ political potential, however, and it asks whether CRMOs constituted activities of neoliberal citizens, or were part of an emergent food politics contra policing. The answer to the question of who can be a citizen in citizen science in contemporary Japan seems to be “not many people.” In addition to neoliberal and postfeminist constraints on the idea of proper citizenship, post-Fukushima Japan saw a surge in radical leftist groups that made CRMOs highly wary of potential hijacking and the stigma of being associated with them. The space of the legitimate citizen became smaller and smaller, compelling many people to use science as a means to distance themselves from politics. But this does not mean that citizen science was completely depoliticized. With the concept of measuring on the margin I argue how CRMOs sought to do politics by science, albeit in a highly constrained manner.