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Volume 32, 2015

Making and Un-Making Modern Japan

Paul Dumouchel
Pages 166-183

Reciprocity: Nuclear Risk and Responsibility

Focusing on the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, this article argues that there is or can be a form of reciprocity between the victims of a catastrophe and society at large to the extent that victims become the occasion and rationale for social reforms. The victims’ contribution to society in this case is the simple fact of being victims. Such a form of reciprocity requires a particular relation to time which Jean-Pierre Dupuy has recently analyzed. In the case of modern risks such as nuclear risk, the contribution of the victims is not only to a better future, but also takes place in the present by rendering patent risks which, as Ulrich Beck argued, though they are known tend to remain socially invisible.

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