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Initial Reflections on Goals – Accomplishments – Promising Next Steps

First, please spend five minutes reflecting on, and posting answers to the following questions:

  • What were your goals for this workshop? What, in reality, did you get out of the workshop?
  • Separately, what do you think may be the most promising and/or challenging “next steps” for the Forum?

Please post your reflections below.

  1. Goals:
    1) Learn more about STS approaches to disasters as a way of enhancing my own long-term study of Japan’s changing responses to flood and landslide hazard risk.
    2) Explore ways in which my understanding of past trajectories might help contextualize and illuminate more contemporary debates and issues (policy and academic).
    3) Facilitate in an effort to advance academic exchange and information exchange between Japan and other countries.

    Regarding the first point, this has been very interesting and informative, leading to new connections with both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars. I have a lot to think about.

    The degree to which the second objective has been accomplished is more for other participants to evaluate than me.

    I think, at least based on new contacts, the workshop has allowed me to provide a foundation for working on goal #3.

  2. Norio permalink

    Getting information about disaster research, especially on Fukushima outside US. And what I got is more than I expected. I could learn the importance of STS study, and disaster STS is emerging.

  3. What were my goals?

    Learn more about what others are doing in the area of STS perspectives on nuclear energy.
    Identify potential informal and formal collaboration opportunities.
    Engage with an international group of scholars, to understand the range of perspectives available and the larger global context.

    What did I get?

    I’m happy with how my above three goals have been met. I still view this as an early stage conversation and am happy to see how it evolves.

    Most promising next steps:

    Maintain the workshop website; adapt it to be a continuing resource for this workshop group and the larger scholarly community

    Consider some publication projects based on the workshop papers or related papers by workshop participants. I think we have two potential publishers interested in considering the possibilities.

    A future conference would be good, if someone could take on the logistics.

  4. Daniel Aldrich permalink

    I came to the conference to meet with colleagues working on issues of 3/11 and Fukushima, to learn more about the field of STS more generally, and to walk away with new perspectives on ways of integrating STS-type work into my own research. While I feel that the first two goals were met successfully, I am still struggling to figure out how to bring STS into my own approach, which is a social science perspective based on qualitative and quantitative methodologies. I feel that the most challenging next steps for the Forum will be ensuring methodological diversity in the group’s approaches and incorporating perspectives from a variety of disciplines.

  5. Sharon Traweek permalink

    Goals: Learn about everyone’s work, get acquainted with the authors/speakers/interlocutors, imagining future possibilities together
    Getting: learning, collegiality, listening to and participating in conversations, beginning some one-to-one exchanges
    Next steps: participating in planning activities, imagining collaboration

  6. Aya Okada permalink

    Coming from the field of public policy, my motivation to attend this workshop was to understand the framework of STS and to present our work done in disaster management. It was fascinating to learn the diverse group of scholars working on Fukushima-related issues: from cultural anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists to engineering. I learned the importance of putting myself in others’ shoes to understand their perspective and to enrich my understanding of Japan’s triple disasters. The workshop also helped me realize the importance and the challeng of bridging the Japanese and English academic world.

  7. Yasuhito Abe permalink

    My goals were two things. The first one was to contextualize my communication-studies-based approach in a broader context of STS studies. The second one was to try to contribute to the STS scholarship by using my expertise in communication studies. Receiving many thoughtful and encouraging comments on my paper, I truly achieved my first goal. Regarding my second goal, I am not sure honestly. Last night, I talked with Professor Kinsella about the position of communication studies in the field of the STS scholarship, and I believe we as communication scholars, have more to contribute to the STS scholarship.

    The most promising next step is a comparative approach of disaster/STS studies, but at the same time, comparative study is challenging in terms of the issue of translation/languages etc.

  8. Norio permalink

    Setting up the goal or frame of disaster STS not only about nuclear, but about holistic disaster including recovery. The output of research and audience should be clear. From disaster resaerch field, I would like to contribute to this field.

  9. Charlotte permalink

    My goal was to have a better idea of the interests perspectives and possible future orientations of a DSTS. I have been very interested to see the different dynamics of the group, the major focuses, the blind spots and also some of the difficulties that have emerged yesterday trying to think how can we emerge as a group, what are the articulations or conflits that could/should structure our thoughts. As someone said yesterday, I think the opportunity offered to get to know what passionate other participants will be something that we could keep in mind when designing our research, defining our concepts, explaining our results.

  10. Sonja Schmid permalink

    I wanted to meet people interested in and working on various disasters — their histories, specific cultural, institutional, and political contexts. I was particularly interested in the contributions by Japanese scholars on Fukushima.
    I learned a lot, especially from those contributors outside my own area of research (non-nuclear, non-European/US). Like Bill, I feel this conversation is still at an early stage and this was a promising (albeit at times rocky) start.

  11. Kohta Juraku permalink

    My goal was to have conceptual and theoretical ideas to elaborate my research project as well as other participants’ ones. I did have some of them actually, but I realized that we need more attention to detect, grasp and overcome the difference of nuances of each word, concept and perspective on what has happened in Japan, among participants. I have felt many differences between Japanese and non-Japanese, among their backgrounds in scholarship and research interests. This finding was much more striking for me, frankly speaking.

    On that basis, I think that more intensive but not too structured discussion on each concrete issue/field would be effective to mediate those differences. If we could hold another meeting to do that in Japan, with some field visit (to suffered area, nuclear site, etc.), it should be meaningful to do that as regarding East Japan Nuclear/Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster. On the other hand, it might be effective to do it in other site (such as New Orleans) to think about other disaster cases. This idea must be costly and not so easy to realize, but it should be essential to promote this collaborative international scholarship.

  12. Tamiyo Kondo permalink

    My motivation to attend this workshop is to get variety of comment and viewpoint for developing my research.
    Through two days workshop, I’ve learnt partipants’ research approach and methodology,
    and how they are different from those of mine.
    What I’ve not understand well is that what is STS scholars’ goal for their research on Fukushima/Great East Japan Earthquake.

  13. Kyoko Sato permalink

    I am about to launch a 3-year project on Fukushima, and my goal was to (1) be exposed to current scholarship on Fukushima and other relevant issues; (2) meet with and talk to scholars who work on these issues; and (3) think about how our project can learn from/build on/be in conversation with current scholarship. I believe that I have achieved all three, albeit to different degrees.
    I would appreciate opportunities for small-group discussion. Grouping can be multiple and changeable, but depending on people’s interests, topics, and analytical and methodological approaches, we can create overlapping subgroups and continue discussion, in addition to what we do collectively as a whole.

  14. Ryuma Shineha permalink

    My individual main goals of this workshop were:
    1) thinking about the posiibility of connection between STS and disaster studies,
    2) discussiing what STS concept can applied and approach to complex disasters,
    3) seeking the next step and space for future research and collaboration, considering pre-circulated materials,

    And this workshop give me a lot of stimulus and imaginations for DSTS. And for me, papers give me valuable insights (particularly, Knowles, Nick, and Sonja). And concerning the Scott’s talk at the first session, questions such as What is “disaster?” and what is divide and definite disaster?” , in my opinion, can be research question of STS.

    However, at the same time, I recognize that we don’t know enough “disaster” itself, we don’t know enough “nuclear”, and we don’t know enough “regulation (and regulatory system)” of them. To tackle disasters and the 3.11, and to establish DSTS, we have to get to know them. And we should not forget the reality of the disaster (And as just my personal emotion, I feel some distance from the realities…). The 3.11 is on-going disaster, and this is not only problem for Japan. And in my opinion, we have to and should continue to watch and participate in this matter longly (as previously mentioned by Kondo-sensei).

  15. Laura Beltz Imaoka permalink

    Coming from an interdisciplinary discipline, but dealing with research related to the Fukushima/East Japan Disaster and desiring for my future research to use an STS framework, I hoped to get a sense of the field, consider the methods, take away important information on disasters in general and 3.11 specifically, and find possible directions to go in. I do feel invigorated to start my research this summer and was grateful to have met all the scholars here, who have been nothing but welcoming and helpful (thank you!). In terms of future forum directions, the diversity of research presented in the conference was both invigorating and overwhelming. The topic does not easily fit within one framework or trajectory, nor should it. But I do think defining more specific trajectories for groups to continue to follow would help.

  16. Reiko Hasegawa permalink

    My goal was to get familialised with American scholarly works on the 3.11 disaster. I think I achieved this objective during the workshop but also I felt that most of the discussions were very much theory-oriented and anchored heavily on the American perspective or context. The views of Japanese scholars were little reflected or incorporated in the general discussion. In order to broaden the perspective and enhance mutual learning, I propose that the forum include scholars also from other Asian countries or European countries. Thank you.

  17. Nicolas Sternsdorff permalink

    My goals:

    Learn more about STS scholarship

    Learn about how others approach disasters

    Get to know a community of scholars working on similar topics

    What did I get?

    Connections were great, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with other members. In terms of situating my research and see where it can engage with this scholarship, I got a glimpse of how others work on this topic, but the work starts from here. This is an initial step.

    Challenges ahead: Exploring how methodological differences can be “integrated” or positioned alongside one another in a way that it’s a productive conversation. I also look forward to the possible publications that may emerge.

  18. First of all, many many thanks to Atsushi, Kim, the 2 Scott(s) and Diana for making this amazing workshop possible! Despite the jet lag and the culture shock 😉 this was great great time!

    1. My main goal was to follow on the discussion started at the last 4S Conference (2012 Copenhagen) to enrich the theoretical framework of my research on the radiation issue before and after 3.11.

    2. What did I get? Other participants’ papers and the discussion helped me to identify the concepts that need to be critically analyzed from an STS perspective: risk governance; resilience; social construction of risks; sentinels (workers, animals and other actants).

    3. Most promising steps:

    3.1 Publications:

    – Publish the paper presented here in a good journal (after developing the theoretical framework thanks to the discussion and the suggestions of readings that I got).

    – Contribute with another article to a collective publication with the participants of this forum (see Scott Knowles’ propositions).

    – Contribute to a special issue of EASTS Journal

    3.2 Next conferences:

    – International Sociological Association conference (Yokohama, July 2013):

    – A conference on the issue of nuclear safety in Asia after 3.11?
    (could be held in Taiwan or Singapore / Lisa would lead? Monamie and I would be instrumental)
    Following on:
    1) the Berkeley workshop
    2) the conference that we launched in Taiwan last November with Taiwanese and French STS colleagues (Daiwie Fu, Chia-ling Wu…) last November:
    3) the APSTSN to be held in Singapore July 2013: (many papers on the nuclear issue)

    – Another conference in Paris? (Reiko would lead? Charlotte and I would be instrumental)

    • PS: I got also another important theoretical insight: the time span of the disaster (the nuclear disaster before 3.11, chronic disaster, constant disaster as normal situation, etc). And I appreciate very much the concern of the participants for the social responsibility of social research, as for example in Lisa’s “Teach 3.11” project.

      Publications: Participants of the Berkeley workshop are very welcome to propose articles to Japan Focus – Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus is one of the most frequently checked webpage around the world on contemporary Japan and it has already accumulated a huge number of articles on 3.11.

  19. Lisa Onaga permalink

    Goals: 1) Learn more from others about various interests and issues through large group and one-on-one discussions. Understand the current lay of the land. 2) Learn about matters relevant to radiation exposure and health in Japan. 3) Gain a greater understanding as to whether the Teach 3.11 project seems useful/relevant to researchers and figure out whether we should keep going. 4) Share information about the Teach 3.11 project and encourage everyone to think about how research connects to teaching and back, and welcome people to use this online space to reach out to more people.

    These above goals were met, but of course, I believe these conversations are in their infancy and must continue. I am glad this Forum exists and for its creation as a safe space for many scholars from different disciplines to share their thoughts and ideas. I was also humbled to receive such warm feedback about the Teach 3.11 project and found it really motivating. It was a heartening counter to thoughts of giving up. (Perseverance Hall @ LBNL, indeed!) I am hopeful about where we can all go from here to build wisdom that is broad and deep as we walk mindfully of the two-way traffic on the bridge between research and teaching.

  20. Scott Knowles permalink

    My primary goal was to meet the authors of the wonderful essays generated for the conference, and to see how these written works could grow into published essays, articles, and chapters. I was also excited about the interdisciplinary “friction,” and the collegiality among scholars from all over the social sciences (and the world!). I took from the workshop a conviction that I need to be more clear in my own work about the ways I hope and expect it may “intervene” in the normal workings of risk society. I also took a hopefulness that these types of exchanges will continue in future meetings. I think producing publications is now key.

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