Aging inhabitants, economic decline of the primary sector, outmigration of the young generations – the postgrowth state of Japan’s peripheries challenges local communities to sustain rural living in the globalized age. To stop or even reverse this structural decline, various actors such as regional governments and research institutions forge strategies of revitalization, following national aims as well as global frameworks. For the investigation of these new and complex formations of power and knowledge in rural Japan, actor-and-network theory (ANT) can provide a window to shed light on how different allies find their goals unified in a common project and how links between centers and peripheries are established. It can, moreover, help to understand the impacts that such projects may – or may not – have on the local communities, which are supposed to benefit from them.
Thimo Thelen, Kanazawa University