Maxime Polleri

Maxime Polleri

MacArthur Predoctoral Fellow

Stanford University
Encina Hall, C218-E
Stanford, CA 94305-6165


Maxime Polleri is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at York University. His current research focuses on the 2011 Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear disaster and on the crisis of expertise that ensued, in which many citizens have become wary of state institutional experts, especially in their capacities to manage the problems engendered by residual radioactivity. In such a context, his dissertation is concerned with how the Fukushima crisis has participated in the formations of new forms of expertise and consequently, new means of governing toxicity. It asks: How is radioactive hazard being governed in the wake of a crisis of legitimacy against state institutional expert? Based on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork throughout Japan, the dissertation argues that averting the crisis of expertise and managing the reconstruction of what “normality” involves in a post-Fukushima Japan include a fundamental reorganization of state governance, where the dissemination of radiation hazards cannot simply rest on dry, clinical manner in which government-packaged expertise about radiation was initially promulgated to a former lay public. In particular, these shift in the governance of radioactive risk are increasingly being enacted by promoting a state-sponsored affective embodiment toward nuclear matter, as well as by encouraging the endeavor of citizen science, where former lay citizens now track and monitor residual radioactivity in their environment. His fieldwork was funded by the Japan Foundation and the Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. His work has been published in Anthropology Now, Anthropology Today, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly Second Spear.