natural hazards, rapid urbanization and the overconsumption of energy and natural resources threaten to drive risk to dangerous and unpredictable levels with systemic global impacts.” 7 All available evidence shows that disasters are increasing in
Catastrophes in the Age of Manufactured Uncertainty
Understanding Mobilities in a Dangerous World
Gail Adams-Hutcheson, Holly Thorpe and Catharine Coleborne
We currently live in a “dangerous” world. Natural disasters, wars, and acts of terrorism are killing, injuring, and displacing millions each year. In the context of digital and social media proliferation, news of such events spreads across the world
The neo-liberal state in Mumbai's 2005 flood
This article discusses the networked forms of governance that have arisen as part of roll-out neo-liberal policies in Mumbai, India, focusing on the flood of 26 July 2005 and its aftermath. The municipal government's inaction during and after the flood is attributed to the decentralization of governance, as well as to cutbacks to public health and basic services in recent years. The rise of competitive urbanism as a part of roll-out neo-liberalism is analyzed as producing gaps in disaster management planning and implementation. The article concludes with a call for a refinanced state and a centralization of municipal bodies under a unified municipal council, seen as necessary to provide the professionalized services required during large-scale emergencies such as floods.
The Piper Alpha disaster remains the most significant event in the history of the British North Sea oil industry, yet despite a large range of scholarship on the topic women's experiences of the disaster have not been heard publicly. This article uses oral history testimony to add the private experiences of women who were affected by the disaster to the public experiences of men. The focus of the analysis is on the gendered and political nature of remembrance and the impact that women had on the way that Piper Alpha was commemorated and remembered.
Susann Baez Ullberg
Flooding in Santa Fe City On 29 April 2003, a disastrous flood occurred in the Argentinean city of Santa Fe. The disaster came to be called by the city’s inhabitants simply “the flood.” The Santafesinos were shocked by the catastrophe. Judging from
disaster managers in India. The field of disaster management has rapidly expanded in the past three decades as the minimization of human losses due to natural disasters has become a focus of global and national policies. 1 It has commonalities with
Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats
Discourses and practices of anticipation occupy a hypertrophic space in contexts where uncontrolled industrial growth has inflicted grave damage on peoples and territories, even triggering environmental disasters. This article explores the use of nonhuman species as anticipatory devices in a petrochemical terminal in Sicily, focusing on public representations of three species: scavenger bacteria that play a cleansing role and underline citizens’ moral responsibility to secure their best possible futures through bioscience; migrating flamingos that breed under the petrochemical chimneys, raising the possibility of hopefulness by highlighting ecosystem resilience; and fish affected by spina bifida, which reveal human health status in advance, communicating the need to live in preparation for potential diseases. The analysis reveals the highly contentious character of these anticipatory devices and the contested ideas about possible futures they imply, thus shedding light on the ecological frictions that have repercussions locally and globally, in discourse and social practice.
Md Saidul Islam and Si Hui Lim
Home to 60 percent of the world's population, Asia accounts for 85 percent of those killed and affected globally by disaster events in 2011. Using an integrated sociological framework comprised of the pressure and release (PAR) model and the double-risk society hypothesis, and drawing on data obtained from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), PreventionWeb, and the IPCC special report on extreme events, this article offers a sociological understanding of disaster development and recovery in Asia. The particular focus is on seven Asian countries, namely, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Rather than treating disasters entirely as “natural” events caused by “violent forces of nature”, we emphasize various ways in which social systems create disaster vulnerability. We argue that existing disaster mitigation and adaptation strategies in Asia that focus almost entirely on the natural and technological aspects of hazards have serious limitations, as they ignore the root causes of disaster vulnerabilities, such as limited access to power and resources. This article therefore recommends a holistic approach to disaster management and mitigation that takes into consideration the various larger social, political, and economic conditions and contexts.
Sheila K. Hoffman, Dominique Poulot, Bruno Brulon-Soares and Joanna Cobley
There is no doubt that we live in fraught times. In the world of museums and cultural heritage protection, we feel it keenly. As symbols and microcosms of respective cultures, museums are thought to reflect society or, at the very least, sections of society or certain historical moments. But the extent to which museums should and do reflect the diversity of people in those societies is the question du jour. Sometimes, it seems as if this question is an internal one—the practical struggle of often underfunded institutions to square the injustices of a past that is encoded into collections with a newfound awareness of visitors, or the theoretical debate about just how multivocal, democratic, and oriented toward social justice a museum can be before it ceases to be a “museum.” The consequences of such struggles and debates can often seem far removed from the concerns of ordinary residents, who may only occasionally visit museums or heritage monuments. Our perception of this disregard perhaps calls into question the impact of our work. But in times of crisis, that doubt is removed and the relevance of cultural heritage becomes clear. Crisis often crystallizes what is most important. That is not surprising. In this special section, we explore the sometimes surprising nature of the aftermath.
On 30 December 2009, the Italian government published Decree Law
No. 195, which dealt with the management of two contingencies:
toxic waste in the Campania region and recovery from the earthquake
of 6 April 2009 in Abruzzo. Article 16 of this legislative instrument
was rather different from the other 18 articles, in that it mandated
the privatization of civil protection in the form of a holding company
entitled Protezione Civile Servizi SpA. The prime minister was named
as the only shareholder, and start-up capital of 1 million euros was to
be supplied by the public purse. For the preceding six weeks, rumors
about this law had been circulating, but the head of the national
Department of Civil Protection (DPC) from 1991–2010, Guido Bertolaso,
had repeatedly denied that any such action was going to be
taken. As Article 14 of this decree law authorized the DPC to appoint
an unspecified number of new employees to permanent posts, a large
amount of unsupervised hiring took place.