A history of urban floods underlines the state's efforts to discipline people as well as to control floodwaters. We focus on two big cities in Southeast Asia—Singapore and Metro Manila—in the period from after World War II until the 1980s. During this period, both cities traversed similar paths of demographic and socioeconomic change that had an adverse impact on the incidence of flooding. Official responses to floods in Singapore and Manila, too, shared the common pursuit of two objectives. The first was to tame nature by reducing the risk of flooding through drainage and other technical measures, as implemented by a modern bureaucracy. The second was to discipline human nature by eradicating “bad” attitudes and habits deemed to contribute to flooding, while nurturing behavior considered civic-minded and socially responsible. While Singapore's technocratic responses were more effective overall than those in Metro Manila, the return of floodwaters to Orchard Road in recent years has highlighted the shortcomings of high modernist responses to environmental hazards. This article argues that in controlling floods—that is, when nature is deemed hazardous—the state needs to accommodate sources of authority and expertise other than its own.
Kah Seng Loh and Michael D. Pante
Niki Frantzeskaki, Jill Slinger, Heleen Vreugdenhil and Els van Daalen
This article presents the reframing of flood management practices in the light of social-ecological systems governance. It presents an exploratory theoretical analysis of social-ecological systems (SES) governance complemented by insights from case study analysis. It identifies a mismatch between the goals of the underlying ecosystem paradigms and their manifestation in management practice. The Polder Altenheim case study is an illustration of the consequences of flood management practices that do not match their underlying paradigm. The article recommends two institutional arrangements that will allow institutions to increase their capacity to co-evolve with SES dynamics: (a) institutional arrangements to ensure and enable openness in actor participation, and (b) institutional arrangements to enable updating of the management practices in response to SES dynamics.
Anna Wesselink and Jeroen Warner
The aim of this special volume is to critically examine the various ways in which floods and flood management are framed in current policies, especially the “space for rivers” policies that have been adopted in many countries of Western Europe. The articles in this volume discuss different aspects of this framing, while employing different theoretical frames. Of these, Spiral Dynamics stands out as the most intriguing and least known. The papers thereby potentially contribute to reframing policy contents and/or procedures: either because they show alternative policy contents and/or because they show different ways of looking at policy making. This introductory article provides an overview of what framing means in a policy-making context, thereby highlighting the politics of engaging in (re)framing.
Jos Spits, Barrie Needham, Toine Smits and Twan Brinkhof
Many historical cities are built alongside rivers. Floodplains were attractive sites for urban expansion. However, the flood events since the 1990's have shown that many urban settlements are under flood risk. This research investigates how flood management and land use planning policies have changed after high water and (near)floods in the Netherlands, Germany, and France. In particular, it investigates how changing policies affect the development of urban riverfronts. Policy documents have been analyzed from all three countries and case studies illustrate the impact of changing policies on concrete developments.
Susann Baez Ullberg
Flooding has long been a recurrent problem in the Argentinian city of Santa Fe, mainly affecting the poverty-stricken suburban outskirts. In 2003 one of the worst floods ever occurred, which also affected residents in the middle income sectors who had never been flooded before and who reacted with an extraordinary process of commemoration and protest against the government for its lax disaster management. Paradoxically, most other past disastrous floods in the city’s history seem to dwell in the shadows of social oblivion. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the years 2004–2011, this article analyzes how local flood memories are made through daily life practices and places in the suburban outskirts, more than through public commemorations, which has implications for vulnerability and risk.
Anna Scolobig, Luigi Pellizzoni and Chiara Bianchizza
There is an increasing demand for improvement of the quality of decisions about flood risk mitigation by fostering public participation in decision-making. However, the extent and way in which formalized participation guarantees good outcomes is still a matter of discussion. This article analyzes different approaches to decision-making for flood risk mitigation by comparing two experiences in the Italian Alps. In Vipiteno-Sterzing, decisions were made by involving citizens in a structured participatory process. In Malborghetto-Valbruna, a formally technocratic (yet substantially inclusive) approach was adopted after the flood that affected the municipality in 2003. Our results critically review the perspective that structured participation is always something "good." In this regard, the way relevant trade-offs between public and private goods were acknowledged and dealt with turned out to be crucial. At the same time, effective participation is closely related to citizens' actual engagement, institutional responsiveness to residents' needs and expectations, and the capacity to harmonize different views and types of knowledge in the development of risk mitigation options. Policy context, choice of approach and quality of outcomes appear as "nested" issues. Further research is needed in order to assess different experiences of decision-making and to set robust conditions for better outcomes in public participation.
Finbarr Barry Flood and Jaś Elsner
Idol-Breaking as Image-Making in the ‘Islamic State’
Breaking and Talking: Some Thoughts on Iconoclasm from Antiquity to the Current Moment
Keith Hart, Florence Weber, Nathan Schlanger, Gavin Flood and Mike Gane
Marcel Mauss, Manual of Ethnography, edited by N. J. Allen, translated by D. Lussier, Oxford and New York: Durkheim Press/Berghahn Press, 2007, pp. 212.
Marcel Mauss, Techniques, Technology and Civilisation, edited and introduced by Nathan Schlanger, New York and Oxford, Durkheim Press/ Berghahn Books, 2006, pp. 178.
Marcel Mauss, Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques, introduction de Florence Weber, Paris: Quadrige/ Presses Universitaires de France,  2007.
Louise Child, Tantric Buddhism and Altered States of Consciousness: Durkheim, Emotional Energy and Visions of the Consort, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007, pp. vii, 197.
James Dingley, Nationalism, Social Theory and Durkheim, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp. 221.
Mobilizing Children’s Voices in UK Flood Risk Management
Alison Lloyd Williams, Amanda Bingley, Marion Walker, Maggie Mort and Virginia Howells
This article reports on a project, led jointly by Lancaster University and Save the Children UK, that used mobile, creative, and performance-based methods to understand children’s experiences and perceptions of the 2013–2014 UK winter floods and to promote their voices in flood risk management. We argue that our action-based methodology situated the children as “flood actors” by focusing on their sensory experience of the floods and thus their embodied knowledge and expertise. The research activities of walking, talking, and taking photographs around the flooded landscape, as well as model making and the use of theater and performance, helped to “mobilize” the children not only to recall what they did during the floods but also to identify and communicate to policy makers and practitioners how we can all do things differently before, during, and after flooding.
The article sketches the history of the Flood Action Plan 20 (FAP-20), an experiment with polder compartmentalization, seeking to integrate flood management, drainage, and irrigation, and make it more democratic in response to the destructive 1987 and 1988 floods in Bangladesh. As a transferred technology the project took too little cognizance of local physical, social, institutional, and economic context and practices to be able to work successfully. The project did bring previously unavailable amenities to the region that served as a shelter area in the floods of 1998.