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Scenarios in a Time of Urgency

Shifting Temporality and Technology

Limor Samimian-Darash

, despite the inherent orientation toward the future potentiality in this technology, once an actual event occurs and the temporality of preparedness is overridden by a temporality of urgency, the scenario technology is adapted to the new temporality in

Open access

Amy Binning

practitioners, and the American religious and temporal landscape, that is, through the affective experience of narratives of preparedness, disaster, and decline. Buddhism's prophecies of decline—common across nearly all schools—place our current moment on a

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‘A small world’

Ethnography of a natural disaster simulation in Lima, Peru

Sandrine Revet

An international idea is that the world must be ‘prepared’ for any disaster situation. Among the many tools and practices that contribute to this frame, the paper focuses on exercises intended to prepare for natural disasters: real‐scale simulation exercises. The object of this paper, based on several studies conducted at sites overseen by the UN natural disaster reduction agency (ISDR) and on a field study of a simulation in Peru in November 2010, is these exercises and their purposes and outcomes. It also explores the conditions of possibility for their ethnography.

Open access

Alex Tasker and Lucy C. Irvine

. Stellmach ( 2020 ), ‘ Integrating the Social Sciences in Epidemic Preparedness and Response: A Strategic Framework to Strengthen Capacities and Improve Global Health Security ’, Globalization and Health 16 : 1 – 18 , doi: 10.1186/s12992

Open access

Santiago Ripoll, Annie Wilkinson, Syed Abbas, Hayley MacGregor, Tabitha Hrynick, and Megan Schmidt-Sane

In epidemic preparedness and response, it is now commonly accepted that social science is important in shaping action. The Ebola response in West Africa (2013–2016) incorporated anthropologists in response teams, and enabled platforms on which

Open access

Introduction to the Special Issue

Operationalising Social Science for Epidemic Response

Megan Schmidt-Sane, Catherine Grant, Santiago Ripoll, Tabitha Hrynick, and Syed Abbas

). Anthropological and other social science research has contributed to epidemic response, through attention to cultural and politico-economic context, reframing community ‘resistance’, bolstering community engagement in preparedness and response, and informing

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On Mouffe's Agonism

Why It Is Not a Refutation of Consensus

George Vasilev

Chantal Mouffe's conceptualization of a deliberatively forged consensus as a hegemony and her assertion that adversarial politics best nurtures the conditions of freedom have had a profound influence on contemporary democratic thought. This article takes a critical view of this trend, arguing that a norm of consensus is a very precondition, rather than impediment, for the kind of pluralistic democracy Mouffe and other agonists wish to promote. It is asserted that Mouffe's dehistoricized refutation of consensus lacks causal or explanatory relevance to how concrete actors embedded in empirical situations relate to one another and that the very preparedness to find something acceptable about another is at the heart of what it means to treat others justly.

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The Weatherman

The Making of Prepared Farmers and the Postcolonial Predictive State in Kenya

Martin Skrydstrup

This article explores weather forecasting as an emergent technology of governmentality through a detailed ethnography of the ways in which the relationships between weather and crops are rendered knowable in a two-day “participatory scenario planning” (PSP) workshop in Naromoru in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Farmers were “made into meteorologists” and developed their preparedness for hazards, impacts, opportunities, strategies, and responsibilities within the context of facing El Niño. The ethnography targets seemingly novel ways of preparing farmers for El Niño. I argue that the PSP served two principal functions: (1) to redistribute responsibilities of the farmers themselves by making them into “meteorologists”; and (2) to integrate “scientific expertise” with “local knowledge” to generate public trust in the metrological institutions of the postcolonial predictive state.

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Coffee after cleansing?

Co-existence, co-operation, and communication in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina

Anders H. Stefansson

This article critically addresses the idea that ethnic remixing alone fosters reconciliation and tolerance after sectarian conflict, a vision that has been forcefully cultivated by international interventionists in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the town of Banja Luka, it presents a multi-faceted analysis of the effects of ethnic minority return on the (re)building of social relations across communal boundaries. Although returnees were primarily elderly Bosniacs who settled in parts of the town traditionally populated by their own ethnic group, some level of inter-ethnic co-existence and co-operation had developed between the returnees and displaced Serbs who had moved into these neighborhoods. In the absence of national reconciliation, peaceful co-existence in local everyday life was brought about by silencing sensitive political and moral questions related to the war, indicating a preparedness among parts of the population to once again share a social space with the Other.

Open access

Caitlin Hindle, Vikki Boliver, Ann Maclarnon, Cheryl McEwan, Bob Simpson, and Hannah Brown


Targets set by the UK Office for Students require highly academically selective UK universities to enrol a greater percentage of students identified as least likely to participate in higher education. Such students are typically at a disadvantage in terms of levels of academic preparedness and economic, cultural and social capital. Drawing on eighteen interviews with first-generation students at Durham University, we identify five sites of pressure: developing a sense of belonging within the terms of an elite university culture, engagement in student social activities, financial worries, concerns about academic progress, and self-transformation. Based on these insights, we argue that support for first-generation scholars will require that universities recognise and redress elitist cultures that discourage applications from prospective first-generation scholars and prevent those who do enrol from having the best educational and all-round experience.