Disaster anthropology talk 17 May 10 a.m: The role of culture in crisis:

collectivism and individualism in the coastal fishing after 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

This was once Arahama – the vibrant fishing suburb of Sendai, right by the coast. After the 2011 Tsunami the entire community was not re-built. Nature takes it back. Picture from Oct 3, 2013 (Florian Stammler)

Our long term friend and collaborator Professor Takakura Hiroki from the Center for Northeast Asian Studies at Tohoku University (Japan) is going to give us a talk about a field of anthropology that we do not usually know much about, because most of this research is written in Japanese. It’s a rare and nice opportunity to hear an english talk on this from a passionate field researcher. We meet him on the 17th May in Rovaniemi in the Arktikum, for those who can come in person. Remote participants can join via teams link. Here is the abstract for the talk:

Just as Sushi symbolizes Japanese food, fishing symbolizes Japanese culture. While the current fishing production is supported by pelagic fishing in far ocean on a larger business scale, small-scale coastal fishing is nonetheless significant because it flexibly supports local economics in various condition. Anthropologists conventionally regard this as a research topic for studying tradition. The Japan earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 heavily damaged to the local fishing industry in the Japanese province of Pacific Tohoku. The tsunami massively killed people, destroyed boats and facilities and brought debris into the sea. In this talk I focus on the ethnography of coastal fishermen in the post-disaster setting and explain the dynamics of culture in crisis.

My key argument centres on Collectivism and Individualism as a social attribute. This is an important starting point for considering the role of culture in disaster risk reduction policies.

The coastal area two years before the Tsunami hit, in April 2009 (photo F Stammler)

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