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[ International Advanced Laboratory ENS Lyon-CNRS /Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Post-Western Sociology in Europe and in China ] Workshop « Post Disaster, Collective Memories and Re-creation of Society in Europe and Asia »

7 juillet 2022, à l’ENS de Lyon, site Descartes, salle D4.260

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  • organizer : Triangle, ENS Lyon
  • co-organizer : Kwansei Gakuin University

Problematic issues

This workshop focuses on the construction of ecological risks and disasters in different societal contexts : China, Japan, Europe (France and Italy), Polynesia. New risks create situations of high uncertainty and new inequalities. Coping with new environmental risks or disasters is organized around the maintenance of past inequalities, the production of new inequalities and the breaking of previous ones, but also around the intersectionality between economic, social, ethnic, moral, cultural and environmental inequalities. Competitions, disputes and conflicts between different social groups and individuals are organized for the access to material, social, moral goods in disaster situations. New social and economic borders and new moral orders are emerging in the processes of recomposition and re-creation of Chinese, Japanese, European and Polynesian societies.

In this context of civilizational and humanitarian crisis, States are setting up biopolitical mechanisms based on differentiated models of participatory governance with citizens in public arenas where different categories of political and institutional actors act and cooperate to restore social and spatial justice situations. At the same time, as the modes of governance for managing ecological disasters are becoming more complex, spaces of solidarity and hospitality are being created. These increasingly bring together institutional and political actors, community activists and citizens. These biopolitical devices can produce "care geographies" that contribute to the recomposition and recreation of societies.

Citizens confronted with risk situations and ecological disasters develop moral economies from responses to States and institutions ; victim action regimes produce moral orders manufactured in citizen spaces resulting from silence, complaint, consent, indignation or detachment from institutions.In "coping with risks and disasters", individual identities are redefined on the basis of different resilience strategies, coping strategies and depressive strategies. The question of the production of collective memories becomes fundamental in the process of rebuilding individual and collective identities. Biographical continuity is more or less threatened depending on the importance of risks and disasters. In situations of ecological disaster, the stronger are the physical, social and moral ruptures, the greater is the need to produce and negotiate new collective memories, which make it possible to give and restore meaning to events and situations. Collective memories become moral and cultural resources in post-disaster re-socialization processes.

We want to investigate how citizens ’ memories and practices of solidarity bring about the fabrics of ‘communities of circumstances’, which emerge in situ, according to the novel social, environmental, economic and risk constraints deriving from disasters . We assume that memory becomes a vector of solidarity and of resistance and its transmission, translation and adaptation throughout citizens’ communauties practices along time and space the emergence of emotional communities and of novel practices of mutual help and solidarity to face the catastrophe and develop post-disaster reconstruction. Crucially, we assume that such ‘emotional communities of circumstances’ are done and undone according to the social opportunities and the risk-related constraints. They are constructed in situ, throughout mutual help practices, knowledge mobilization and shared social, economic and emotional resources to face a specific situation of emergency. Socially and temporally constructed, when the situation of emergency is over these communities can disappear. Eventually, they re-appear again when – and if- the structure of social and environmental risks requires their making.

A specific attention will be thus given to the anthropological relationship between men and nature, yet this will be rooted into a study of the socialization processes, the interactions, the social ties, the practices of mutuality and of reciprocity, the forms of competition and of conflict which have emerged within the different social groups. At the same time, such an approach will help to point out the processes of knowledge transmission. Knowledge here refers to a knowledge of the nature, of the relationship between men and nature, the profession of farmer/peasant/agricultural/ industrial worker and the nature, the territory and the rural or industrial space, but also a knowledge of agricultural or industrial practices and to the relationship with the ‘natural environment’. This helps to apprehend how environmental risk is constructed according to the local social, temporal and environmental specificities and how the perception and the experience of environmental risk (thus also its current management) and the individual and collective practices to cope with it have varied over time.

While situations of ecological disasters produce paroxysmal patterns of fragmentation, rupture, physical and social destruction, they also open up spaces for social restoration and the reconstruction of societies. The whole issue becomes how to "rebuild society".In the Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Polynesian contexts, we will analyse how processes of re-creation and fragmentation, or even social extinction, co-exist in what it "rebuilds" a society in a post-disaster context. The challenge will be to understand how the voices of citizens are heard publicly or when disasters are over, and how collective, individual and even institutional memories participate in the process of re-creating societies and local communities. If new horizons of coordination and novel public spaces are produced by institutional actors, intermediate actors and citizens to "rebuild society", new situations of societal inequalities and social injustices, new moral boundaries between different social groups in a post-disaster context, are formed.


  • 9:15 am - 10:00 am : Disasters, recovery and local community in Japan
    by Professor Yoshiyuki Yama School of Human Welfare Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University, Director, Institute of Disaster Area Revitalization, Regrowth, and Governance
  • 10:00 am - 10:45 am : Disaster Ruins, cultural heritage and ethnic culture in China
    by Zhang Qiaoyun, Assistant Professor, BNU-HKBU United International College
  • 10:45 am - 11:00 am : pause
  • 11:45 am - 12:45 am : discussion
  • 12:45 am - 1:45 pm : lunch
  • 1:45 pm - 2:30 pm : Disaster, citizen’s mobilization and economic recovery in Modena (Italy) By Béatrice Zani Postdoctoral Research Fellow, McGill University, Department of East-Asian Studies
  • 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm : discussion by Chen Jin, Associate Professor, Tongji University (Shanghai)
  • 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm : organization and preparation of the book Disasters, Inequalities and Recovery in Europe and in Asia
/ Colloques - journées d’étude