Nonscalability of ‘citizen science’ in post-Fukushima Japan: Unpacking articulations of Citizen Radiation Measuring Organizations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Institutes & Expert groups

  • KUL - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Institute of Environmental Radioactivity - Fukushima University - Japan

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This article explores and discusses understandings of citizen science with members of Japanese Citizen Radiation Measuring Organizations (CRMOs) who began measuring radioactive contamination in food, soil, air, and human bodies after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Building on in-depth interviews with CRMO members and extensive multi-site fieldwork (2018, 2020), the article takes shimin kagaku (citizen science in Japanese) to examine articulations of citizenship and science, while discussing CRMO activities. Adopting Tsing’s notion of nonscalability, it draws attention to the manifold articulations of citizenship and science, unearthing frictions embedded in Japanese science-society relations. In this way, this paper outlines the diversity of notions of citizenship and science, and of citizen participatory practices in science. By bringing nonscalability to bear on an analysis of different articulations of shimin kagaku, this paper encourages scientists and public authorities to engage with citizen participatory practices reflexively and responsibly by considering local articulations and knowledges.


Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021


  • Citizen science, Citizen Radiation Measuring Organization (CRMO), Fukushima, Nonscalability, Shimin kagaku

ID: 7343658