Since my personal experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake with a 7-month old baby under my care, my feminist political theoretical work on the intersections of democracy, diversity and representative democratic institutions took a turn towards the literature on disaster resilience and disaster risk decision-making. While social capital, the risk society, and risk communication have been emerging topics, the impact of diverse populations on democracy and disaster resilience has been little explored in the field of political science. In this paper, I first outline the conceptual contributions of three relevant literatures: disaster studies, feminist intersectionality theory, and critical democratic theory to identify what each literature stands to both contribute and gain from engagement with the other two. Conceptual insights about vulnerability, diversity, and participatory democracy can enrich our critical democratic approach to diverse citizenship and practical politics such that we might better identify how and why participatory processes grounded in political commitments to social inclusion stand to generate more effective and holistic policies of risk governance. Placing these literatures and insights in critical multilogue (Tully 1995), I will tease out the seed elements of what I call “3-Dimensional (3D) Risk Governance,” a new theoretical framework for critical reflection on, and interdisciplinary comparative research on multi-level governance risk reduction processes. To illuminate some of these points, I will draw upon participatory action research on the law reform advocacy of the Japan Women’s Network for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Jackie F. Steele (Ph.D Political Science, University of Ottawa) is Associate Professor at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo. She is convenor of the Japan-Canada Interdisciplinary Research Network on Gender, Diversity and Tohoku Reconstruction (JCIRN) and co-founder/co-convenor of the Research Network on Gender and Diversity in Political Representation (GDRep). Among her recent publications are スティール若希 「多様な政治的アイデンティティとクオータ制の広がりー日本の事例から」、2014年「ジェンダー・クオータの比較政治学」明石書店, 41-66. Jackie F. Steele. 2014. “Gender Quotas: What is all the Fuss? Democratic Electoral Rules and Power-sharing for Diverse Political Identities,” Hogaku 77:6:1058-1033.