Intersectionality and Transdisciplinarity in Disaster Studies

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Janki ANDHARIA, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India

Disasters are often viewed as de-politicised events requiring technological interventions to prevent, mitigate or predict them. The idea of intersectionality in disaster studies challenges instrumental rationality of disaster “management”, essentialism, categorical purity and classificatory tendencies. It emphasizes the need to pay attention to the logic with which concepts in disaster management are socially constructed and how they operate within power structures and create new ones through social and institutional processes, embedded within the language of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Secondly, what does the space of post disaster recovery look like? The paper aims at a critical re-reading of post disaster recovery and ideas of spatial justice by examining concepts of hybridity and Soja’s (1991) Thisdsapce. These "displace the histories that constitute it, and set up new structures of authority, new political initiatives. The process of cultural hybridity gives rise to something different, something new and unrecognizable, a new area of negotiation of meaning and representation." (Rutherford, 1998).

The paper explores Soja’s (1991) Thirdspace as a radically inclusive concept that encompasses epistemology, ontology, and historicity in continuous movement beyond dualisms and toward "an-Other". "Thirding produces what might best be called a cumulative trialectics that is radically open to additional otherness, to a continuing expansion of spatial knowledge. The paper will examine “the rebalanced trialectices of spatiality–historicality–sociality” in the context of post disasters relief and recovery processes. The paper seeks to examine an understanding of how meaning is generated, disseminated, contested, bound up with systems of power and control and produced from the social, political and economic spheres within particular social formations.

Problematizing the dominant models of relief and recovery, propagated through powerful multilateral institutions, the paper would examine issues of power, local political struggles and how these inform disaster governance and disaster management practices.