From Vulnerability to Agency in Disasters: The Experiences of Women Victim-Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan
Drawing from vulnerability theory in disaster studies, this research examines women’s experiences of disaster as they intersect with their multidimensional characteristics of economic, physical and social vulnerabilities (Yumarni 2014). In addition, Bourdieu’s concept of capital is used to analyze women’s practices as agents to overcome the limitations of their predicament. Using interviews with women victim-survivors in Tacloban City and a nearby town, areas that were badly hit by the typhoon, the study captures the narratives of women’s experiences of disaster, examines articulations of their practices of survival, negotiations with others, and rebuilding their lives in the disaster aftermath. Women’s traditional social roles and their strong sense of commitment to their family are among the themes in their narratives as victim-survivors of disaster. On the other hand, their agency is also explored as they become advocates, organizers and responders.