Post-disaster Field Trips: Building Expert Knowledge through Itineraries, Memory Sticks, and Cameras

in Nature and Culture
View More View Less
  • 1 Goldsmiths College zuzahrd@gmail.com
Restricted access

Abstract

Field trips play a significant role in the building of expert knowledge of numerous institutions. So why is their nature and significance for knowledge production rarely discussed in the anthropology of expertise? In this paper, I draw on the particular instance of an expert field trip undertaken by a disaster management organization in the Indian state of Odisha in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin in 2013. I show that field trips are contingent practices defined by their sequential logic, relationships, interests, and by the personal perceptions of people who undertake them. The choice of personnel to carry out this field exercise is fundamental and depends on institutional views of aims and understandings of what constitutes expertise. In line with E. Summerson Carr’s argument that expertise is something people “do” rather than “hold”, I show that enacting expert status serves to assert power and to enable its holder to achieve their aims.

Contributor Notes

Zuzana Hrdličková, PhD, is a social anthropologist interested in the anthropology of disaster, conflict and gender, and STS. Between 2011 and 2015 she was a postdoctoral researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, working on the ERC-funded “Organizing Disaster: Civil Protection and Population” research project. She obtained her PhD from the Charles University in Prague in 2009 for her thesis titled “Impact of Civil War on Social Status of Sri Lankan Tamil Women.” Address: Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, United Kingdom. E-mail: zuzahrd@gmail.com

  • Amit, Vered, ed. 2003. Constructing the Field: Ethnographic Fieldwork in the Contemporary World. London: Routledge.

  • Beebe, James. 1995. “Basic Concepts and Techniques of Rapid Appraisal”. Human Organization 54(1): 4251.

  • Carr, E. Summerson. 2010. “Enactments of Expertise”. Annual Review of Anthropology 39: 1732, doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.012809.104948.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, Harry M., and Robert Evans. 2006. “The Third Wave of Science Studies: Studies of Expertise and Experience”. In The Philosophy of Expertise, ed. Evan Selinger and Robert P. Crease, pp. 39110. New York: Columbia University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Falk, John H., and John D. Balling. 1982. “The Field Trip Milieu: Learning and Behavior as a Function of Contextual Events”. The Journal of Educational Research 76(1): 2228, doi:10.1080/00220671.1982.10885418.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardner, Katy, and David Lewis. 1996. Anthropology, Development and the Post-Modern Challenge. London: Pluto Press.

  • Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). 2010. DaLA—Damage, Loss and Needs Assessment: Guidance Notes. Vol. 1: Design and Execution of a Damage, Loss and Needs Assessment: Guidance Note for Task Managers. 3 vols. Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). 2014. “Stories of Impact: Disaster Planning Pays Off in Odisha, India”. GFDRR/World Bank Group. http://www.gfdrr.org/stories-impact-disaster-planning-pays-odisha-india (accessed 27 February 2015).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gieryn, Thomas F. 1983. “Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists”. American Sociological Review 48(6): 781795, doi:10.2307/2095325.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Golde, Peggy, ed. 1986. Women in the Field: Anthropological Experiences. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Grillo, Ralph David, and Roderick L. Stirrat, eds. 1997. Discourses of Development: Anthropological Perspectives. Oxford: Berg.

  • Gupta, Akhil, and James Ferguson, eds. 1997. Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holmes, Douglas R., and George E. Marcus. 2005. “Cultures of Expertise and the Management of Globalization: Toward the Re-Functioning of Ethnography”. In Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics and Ethics as Anthropological Problems, ed. Aihwa Ong and Stephen J. Collier, pp. 235253. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ICRC and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 2008. “Guidelines for Assessment in Emergencies”. ICRC, IFRC. http://www.ifrc.org/PageFiles/95882/C.02.01.%20Guidelines%20for%20assessment%20in%20emergencies_IFRC%20and%20ICRC.pdf (accessed 2 June 2015).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • IMD. 2013. Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin over the Bay of Bengal (08–14 October 2013): A Report. New Delhi: India Meteorological Department. Cyclone Warning Division. http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/phailin.pdf (accessed 23 September 2014).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Islam, Gazi. 2014. “Practitioners as Theorists: Para-Ethnography and the Collaborative Study of Contemporary Organizations”. Organizational Research Methods 18: 231251, doi:10.1177/1094428114555992.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kalsi, S.R. 2006. “Orissa Super Cyclone—A Synopsis”. MAUSAM 57(1): 120.

  • Knapp, Doug. 2000. “Memorable Experiences of a Science Field Trip”. School Science and Mathematics 100(2): 6572, doi:10.1111/j.1949-8594.2000.tb17238.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Latour, Bruno. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Miller, Victor C. 1961. Photogeology. International Series in the Earth Sciences Y. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  • Mosse, David. 2011a. “Introduction: The Anthropology of Expertise and Professionals in International Development”. In Adventures in Aidland: The Anthropology of Professionals International Development, ed. David Mosse, 126. New York: Berghahn Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mosse, David. ed. 2011b. Adventures in Aidland: The Anthropology of Professionals in International Development, vol. 6. New York: Berghahn Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mosse, David, and David Lewis, eds. 2006. Development Brokers and Translators: The Ethnography of Aid and Agencies. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Orion, Nir, and Avi Hofstein. 1994. “Factors That Influence Learning During a Scientific Field Trip in a Natural Environment”. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 31(10): 10971119, doi:10.1002/tea.3660311005.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rajak, Dinah, and Jock Stirrat. 2011. “Parochial Cosmopolitanism and the Power of Nostalgia”. In Adventures in Aidland: The Anthropology of Expertise and Professionals in Development. ed. David Mosse, pp.161176. New York: Berghahn Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sarkar, Shantanu., D.P. Kanungo, and G. S. Mehrotra. 1995. “Landslide Hazard Zonation: A Case Study in Garhwal Himalaya, India”. Mountain Research and Development 15(4): 301309.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stirrat, Jock. 2006. “Competitive Humanitarianism: Relief and the Tsunami in Sri Lanka”. Anthropology Today 22(5): 1116, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8322.2006.00459.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stirrat, Roderrick L. 2000. “Cultures of Consultancy”. Critique of Anthropology 20(1): 3146, doi:10.1177/0308275X0002000103.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 5 5 2
Full Text Views 3 3 0
PDF Downloads 9 9 0