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University of Melbourne CCGC Seminars: Friday 12 April, Akina Mikami

The CCGC at the University of Melbourne continues its Seminar Series this Friday the 12th April, starting at 4:30pm in Room 106 of the John Medley Building with Akina Mikami presenting ‘Risk Communication’: Communicative Agencies in Crisis Assemblage – Post-3.11 Map-Mediated Communication of Nuclear Risks Among Geiger-Counting Actor. Some drinks and nibbles will be provided by the CCGC.

Abstract: In the aftermath of ‘3.11’, or the threefold catastrophe (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant blasts) that hit the northeast coast of Japan in March 2011, we are witnessing novel scalar constellations of communicative agencies. There appears to be a co-construction of ‘risk knowledge’ in the interactive communicative flows between, on the one hand, the translocal actors who are utilising ‘geiger-counters’ and crowdsourcing platforms to measure, map and report radiation levels of public spaces, and on the other hand, the institutionalised media forms, institutionalised nuclear science expertise and government bodies. The thesis aims to develop the conceptualisation of ‘risk communication’ in ‘crisis assemblage’  (Beck, 1992, 1999, 2009; Sassen, 2006), by examining the incipient communicative agencies that are emerging around the communication of nuclear risks. It deploys a mixed method of online surveys followed by in-depth interviews with participants of Hakatte Geiger and Safecast, two major crowdsourcing platforms that map radiation levels in Japan. The thesis studies the extent to which such forms of communicative agencies induce affiliations around these risks and configure the ‘relations of definition’ of nuclear risks.

Biography: Akina Mikami graduated from BA(Hons)/MA in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne. She is undertaking her PhD under the supervision of A/Prof Ingrid Volkmer at the Media and Communications Program, School of Culture and Communication. Akina is interested in social transformations brought about by communicative affordances in the everyday lives of people, and the role of media in this process. Outside academic research, she also supports C4D (‘Communication for Development’) research in the Asia-Pacific region in her role as a Research Associate at the International Development department, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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