Living with disasters: hazards, continuity and change

Hannah Swee (UCL)
Zuzana Hrdlickova
Start time:
3 August, 2014 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Disasters disrupt continuities and co-produce social change in multiple ways. This panel aims to explore the various ways in which the coexistence of societies and disasters shape modes of living, and collaboration of people, organisations and other actors.

Long abstract:

A large proportion of the world's population today lives with the effects of disasters, and for some, extreme events are a part of everyday life. Disasters are not only singular extreme events, but may occur on an annual basis in the same society. Whether they are natural or man-made, disasters as catastrophic events are inseparable from some form of social change, be it through adaptation, collaboration or the emergence of grassroots activism. Disasters may start off as a physically destructive event, but they occur within societies and their catastrophic effects are often a result of a combination of factors including the environment, society, politics, and economy. This panel invites papers that explore how disasters are related to change in societies. This includes discussions about what kind of social or political environment preceded a disaster, how people cope with and establish a sense of continuity after a disaster, and what sorts of social changes are involved. Papers may reflect societies that have been affected by disaster in any time frame, from the society before the destructive event, immediately after, or a longer time after. Papers are welcome from academics as well as applied anthropologists working in the area of disaster studies. Possible themes that could be addressed: Collaboration between the community, relief agencies, charities, or governments; community collaboration; grassroots activism; individuals as agents of change; the use of social media and the internet; disasters as part of everyday life; adaptation and coping strategies; disasters as catalysts for positive change.