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CfP and Registration open

Call for Papers is open and with deadline 22 February, Registration point is activated and the Early Bird registration fee is available until 31 March. The snow is covering us today with its beautiful softness and light, but we also look forward to summer days in Uppsala. Welcome you all 10-12 June.

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Panel 21 – Health and bodies in emergencies and uncertain times

Conveners: Claudia Merli (Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University) and Mats Målqvist (International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University Hospital)

Abstract: Clashing definitions of health and perspectives on bodies often meet during times of uncertainty and emergency. In the Anthropocene era the fragility and vulnerability of individuals, groups and environments can be magnified and often extended in conjunction to health and humanitarian interventions that can turn into new forms of governance. Local epistemologies of the relation between individual, community and environment may be silenced or marginalised vis-à-vis hegemonic categorisations that approach ‘nature’ and ‘society’ as domains that are or need to be kept separated. This panel invites contributions that critically assess and debate health and bodies from a wide range of perspectives, including medical anthropology, anthropology of health, global health, public health, medicine, forensic anthropology, science and technology studies, and others. Topics for papers in this panel can address:

  • Epidemics and pandemics
  • Chronic health crises
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Treatment of human remains in epidemics
  • Disaster Victim Identification and forensic identification
  • Community engagement in times of crisis
  • Psychosocial support among displaced populations
  • Natural hazards and health

Long Abstract: The operative and accepted definition of health by international organisations is the one proposed by the WHO, in which ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (Preamble WHO 1948 and 1978 Alma Ata). It affirms an all-encompassing ideal state of well-being as a stable, positive and whole attainment. Critical approaches to the study of health and health interventions, especially in the global south, privilege the examination of local material and social conditions as well as global political and economic dynamics, problematizing this universal definition of health not only because idealistic, but also as often associated with often short-term action-driven approaches that can lead to unintended or undesirable consequences (see Hanna and Kleinman 2013; Kim et al. 2013). Critical perspectives on health put forward instead a definition that emphasises individuals as well as populations’ control and access to material and non-material resources, including healthcare, in specific socio-cultural contexts (Baer, Singer, and Susser 2003), and take into consideration in the design of health interventions that work long-term those structural barriers that limit or prevent this access (Kim et al. 2013).

In the Anthropocene we witness the progressive ecological fragility of different ecological and urban contexts (cities, mountains, etc.) and vulnerability of individuals, households, and populations (Baer and Singer 2009). At the same time we are called to challenge the vulnerability paradigm that has informed much of contemporary response to disasters (Gaillard 2018). A critical approach to global warming and climate change takes into account also the health consequences produced in fragile environments, which can rapidly transform from a locally delimited health crisis into a global health scare.

Epidemics are increasingly framed as humanitarian emergencies or catastrophes, opening up to new forms of intervention and domination in sudden calamities and chronic states of uncertainty, by NGOs and other humanitarian organisations operating from different moral frameworks (for example utilitarianism, liberal cosmopolitanism, capabilities approach, etc.) (see Nguyen 2009; Redfield 2010; Suri et al. 2013). We want to explore how these interventions operate from an uncritical definition of the body developed within the Western biomedical epistemology, which does not take into consideration the theoretical articulation between the individual body, the social body, and the body politic (cf. Scheper-Hughes and Lock 1987).

One of the aspects characterising the aftermath of environmental crises as well as health epidemics concerns the treatment and potential dehumanization of dead bodies and human remains. A biomedical approach to death as a state detached from human life may cause severe conflict to contextual nursing practices and cultural perceptions of life and afterlife (Richards 2016). This approach often gains prerogative in crisis situations, e.g. Ebola outbreaks or in the aftermath of environmental disasters.

We invite colleagues to critically reflect on how an uncritical biomedical approach reproduces a perspective on ‘nature’ and ‘society’ as untroubled versus troubling separate domains in the context of health interventions during uncertain times.

References:

Baer, Hans, and Merrill Singer. 2016. Global warming and the political ecology of health: Emerging crises and systemic solutions. London: Routledge.

Baer, Hans A., Merrill Singer, and Ida Susser. 2003. Medical anthropology and the world system. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Gaillard, J.C. 2018. Disaster studies inside out. Disasters doi:10.1111/disa.12323

Hanna, Bridget, and Arthur Kleinman. 2013. “Unpacking Global Health: Theory and critique.” In P. Famer, J. Y. Kim, A. Kleinman and M. Basilico (eds), Reimagining Global Health, pp. 15-32. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kim, Jim Yong, Michael Porter, Joseph Rhatigan, Rebecca Weintraub, Matthew Basilico, and Paul Farmer. 2013. “Scaling up effective delivery models worldwide.” In P. Famer, J. Y. Kim, A. Kleinman and M. Basilico (eds), Reimagining Global Health, pp. 184-211. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Nguyen, Vinh-Kim. 2009. Government-by-exception: Enrolment and experimentality in mass HIV treatment programmes in Africa.Social Theory & Health, 7(3): 196–217.

Redfield, Peter. 2010. “The verge of crisis: Doctors without Borders in Uganda.” In. D. Fassin and M. Pandolfi (eds), Contemporary states of emergency: The politics of military and humanitarian interventions, pp. 173–195. New York: Zone Books.

Richards, Paul. 2016. Ebola: How a people’s science helped end an epidemic. Chicago: ZED Books.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Margaret Lock. 1987. The mindful body: A prolegomenon to future work in Medical Anthropology. Medical Anthropology Quarterly(1): 6–41.

Suri, Arjun, Jonathan Weigel, Luke Messac, Marguerite T. Basilico, Matthew Basilico, Bridget Hanna, Salmaan Keshavjee, and Arthur Kleinman. 2013. “Values and Global Health.” In P. Famer, J. Y Kim, A. Kleinman and M. Basilico (eds), Reimagining Global Health, pp. 245-286. Berkeley: University of California Press.

WHO (World Health Organization). 1948. Preamble to the Constitution of WHO as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19 June­─22 July 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of WHO, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.

Panel 20 – Matters of scale in the making, understanding and analysing disasters and crises

Conveners: Susann Baez Ullberg (Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University) and Maria Rusca (Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University)

Abstract: Scholars are often confronted with diverse modes and practices of scale making in studying disasters and crises, no matter if these are conceptualised as events, processes or both. Social actors rely upon different scales to organize, interpret, orient, and act in their worlds: these are not given but made in multiple modes. In analysing such practices, scholars also employ scale as an organising methodological concept. We want to consider how these scaling practices are enacted in at least three dimensions of application; spatial, temporal and demographic. We invite papers that engage with scale conceptually, empirically and methodologically.

Long Abstract:This session aims at exploring the ways in which disasters and crises are discursively and materially produced via different scaling practices. By bringing togetherdifferent scientific perspectives we want to examine the differences and similarities in how we engage with and analyse these enactments and what the ontological, epistemological and methodological premises are. Scholars are often confronted with diverse modes and practices of scale making in studying disasters and crises, no matter if they are conceptualised as events, processes or both. Social actors rely upon different scales to organize, interpret, orient, and act in their worlds: these are not given but made in multiple modes (Carr & Lempert, 2016; Colligne, 1999). In analysing such practices, scholars also employ scale as an organising methodological concept. We want to consider how these scaling practices are enacted in at least three dimensions of application: spatial, temporal and demographic. The spatial dimension is evidenced when questions of risk, vulnerability and resilience are framed by local and global experts according to a normative division into ‘local’, ‘regional’, ‘national’, ‘transnational’ and ‘global’ or contested and renegotiated in the production of uneven disaster landscapes (Marston, 2014; Swyngendouw, 2003; Colligne, 1999). The temporal dimensions account for both tempo and timing, from anticipating future risks and mitigating slow onset disaster, to operating during emergencies and engaging in the often-ignored long-term temporal aspects of the production of vulnerabilities and hazards and post-disaster recovery. Finally, the demographic dimension, which relates to both time and space, plays out the tension between individual and collective needs in addressing disasters. Even when operating on a relatively local scale, international emergency operations tend to focus on ‘population’ overlooking local political and social dynamics that create social differentiation of aid and ignoring individual coping capacities. By avoiding taking for granted global forces and local places; short-term events and long-term processes; or collective needs and individual capacities, this session questions the stability of the concept of scale and scaling practices. It focuses on scaling itself as the object of discussing disasters and crises as to avoid ‘scale blindness’ (Bird-David, 2017).

We invite panellists who through their theoretical and empirical work can contribute to the above debates, by examining topics that may include, but are not limited to, the following questions: How are scales of disaster and crises management set and by whom? Through what scaling practices are disasters materially and discursively produced and managed? What does it mean and to whom to say that a crisis is transnational, national, regional or local? What are the scalar factors driving disaster risk accumulation and uneven exposure to risk? In which ways do different actors change and navigate their contexts of action and endow their concerns with different levels of significance? What are the material and political channels that enable or hinder scaling processes? What methodologies are productive to investigate the role of scaling practicesin the production and uneven distribution of disasters?  How do scholars themselves engage in processes of scaling while assembling and navigating their fields of research? How do we ‘scale-up’ disaster and crises studies to influence scaling practices?

References

Bird-David, 2017. Before nation: Scale-blind anthropology and foragers’ worlds of relatives. Current Anthropology 58(2): 209–226.

Carr, E. Summerson, and Michael Lempert. 2016. Scale: discourse and dimensions of social life. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Collinge, C.J., 1999. Self-organization of society by scale. Environment & Planning D: Society & Space, 17 (5): 557–574.

Leitner, H. 2004. “The politics of scale and networks of spatial connectivity: Transnational interurban networks and the rescaling of political governance in Europe.” In Sheppard, E. and McMaster, R.B. (Eds), Scale and geographic inquiry, pp. 236-255. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Marston, A.J. 2014. The scale of informality: Community-run water systems in peri-urban Cochabamba, Bolivia. Water Alternatives7(1): 72–88.

Swyngedouw, E. and Heynen, N.C., 2003. Urban political ecology, justice and the politics of scale. Antipode, 35(5): 898–918.

Panel 19 – Multiple hazards and compound/cascading effects

Conveners: Maurizio Mazzoleni and Johanna Mård (Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University)

Abstract: Different natural hazards (e.g. floods, droughts, earthquakes, wildfire, etc.), caused by the interaction of multiple hazard drivers in space or time, have a multiplier effect on the risk to society, infrastructure, and the environment, leading to a significant impact is referred to as a ‘compound event’. Recently, they were identified as an important challenge by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) ‘Grand Challenge’ on Extremes. For this reason, this panel aims at providing a platform for first understanding current state-of-the-art and recent research findings on compound, cascading, and concurrent events and then discussing reduction and management of compound disaster risks depending on our improved understanding of these causal connections and mechanisms.

Long Abstract: This session focuses on the compound and cascading events, and their impacts on natural hazard risk. Traditionally, risk assessment methods only consider one driver and/or hazard at a time, potentially leading to uncertainty risk evaluation as the processes that cause extreme events often interact and are spatially and/or temporally dependent. However, different natural hazards (e.g. floods, droughts, earthquakes, wildfire, etc.), caused by the interaction of multiple hazard drivers in space or time, have a multiplier effect on the risk to society, infrastructure, and the environment, leading to a significant impact is referred to as a ‘compound event’. For example, recent studies indicate that when river and coastal floods occur at the same time or in quick succession, their impacts could be more devastating than when either occurs separately (Kew et al., 2013; Klerk et al., 2015; Wahl et al., 2015). The need to proper understand compound hazards has been recognized by different studies (e.g., Leonard et al., 2014). Recently, they were identified as an important challenge by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) ‘Grand Challenge’ on Extremes. For this reason, this panel aims at providing a platform for first understanding current state-of-the-art and recent research findings on compound, cascading, and concurrent events an then discussing reduction and management of compound disaster risks depending on our improved understanding of these causal connections and mechanisms (Ikeuchi et al., 2017).

We encourage contributions related to all aspects of compound, cascading, and concurrent events, including those that: improve understanding of physical processes; showcase new methodologies, techniques and statistical approaches; and illustrate how including multiple interacting hazards improves risk assessments (Zscheischler et al., 2018). Moreover, we invite panellists which work (both theoretical and empirical) contributes to addressing the following questions: What are the most appropriate theoretical frameworks and supporting tools for risk assessment and attribution that explicitly account for compound events? Which tools and data can be use to better risk management of climate-related impacts? How can we identify the combinations of climate drivers and hazards that collectively lead to changes in risk? Which analysis are required to resolving compound events in climate projections? How can we investigate the changing nature of human activities (such as urbanization, infrastructure, anthropogenic emissions) and their interactions with compound events?

References

Ikeuchi, H., Y. Hirabayashi, D. Yamazaki, S. Muis, P. J. Ward, H. C. Winsemius, M. Verlaan, and S. Kanae (2017), Compound simulation of fluvial floods and storm surges in a global coupled river-coast flood model: Model development and its application to 2007 Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh, J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 9, 1847–1862, doi:10.1002/2017MS000943.

Kew, S. F., F. M. Selten, G. Lenderink, and W. Hazeleger (2013), The simultaneous occurrence of surge and discharge extremes for the Rhine delta, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13(8), 2017–2029, doi:10.5194/nhess-13-2017-2013.

Klerk, W. J., H. C. Winsemius, W. J. van Verseveld, A. M. R. Bakker, and F. L. M. Diermanse (2015), The co-incidence of storm surges and extreme discharges within the Rhine–Meuse Delta, Environ. Res. Lett., 10(3), 035005, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/3/035005.

Leonard, M., S. Westra, A. Phatak, M. Lambert, B. Van den Hurk, K. McInnes, J. Risbey, S. Schuster, D. Jakob, and M. Stafford-Smith (2014), A compound event framework for understanding extreme impacts, WIREs Clim. Change, 5, 113–128, doi:10.1002/wcc.252.

Wahl, T., S. Jain, J. Bender, S. D. Meyers, and M. E. Luther (2015), Increasing risk of compound flooding from storm surge and rainfall for major US cities, Nat. Clim. Change, 5(12), 1093–1097, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2736.

Zscheischler, J., Westra, S., van den Hurk, B.J.J.M., Seneviratne, S.I., Ward, P.J., Pitman, A., AghaKouchak, A., Bresch, D.N., Leonard, M., Wahl, T., Zhang, X.Z. (2018), Future climate risk from compound events, Nature Climate Change, 8(6), 469-477.

Panel 18 – Post-disaster resiliency: Planning to meet community needs during the short-term recovery phase

Conveners: Claire Connolly Knox (School of Public Administration and National Center for Integrated Coastal Research, University of Central Florida) and Lauren A. Clay (Health Services Administration Department, D’Youville College; Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware)

Abstract: Billion-dollar disasters have steadily increased in the U.S. and abroad, which has focused our attention to community resiliency. In the U.S., 2017 and 2018 were two of the most costly years for natural disasters thus far. Specifically, the 2017 Hurricane Season – markedly Harvey, Irma, and Maria – caused an estimated $265 to $306 billion in damages and greatly tested the level of disaster resilience in the affected communities (NOAA 2018). Disaster resilience, often mistaken as the opposite of vulnerability, is the ability for individuals, communities, or society to prepare and plan for, absorb, respond, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. All disasters are local and communities continue to struggle to meet their needs during the short-term recovery phase.

Post-disaster resilience is multi-faceted. While scholars have studied various aspects of community resiliency in the growing literature, there remain gaps in the scientific literature related to emergency management. Most notably (1) meeting community needs during short-term recovery phase following a disaster as evidenced by the prolonged processes and stress associated with disaster recovery; (2) reported health and well-being outcomes by families, communities, and institutions affected by disaster; and (3) translating lessons learned during the short-term recovery phase into long-term recovery and resiliency planning efforts (Kendra, Clay, and Gill 2018; Knox 2017).

This panel will examine approaches to bolstering resilience at the individual, community, institutional, and policy levels. Papers focused on approaches to resilience from different country settings, methodological, and disciplinary perspectives as well as interdisciplinary approaches; studies of resilience at multiple levels such as individual, community, institutional, and policy levels; examples or exemplars of resilience building interventions; studies that have been translated into action; and practical, empirical, or theoretical work are encouraged.

Long Abstract:Billion-dollar disasters have steadily increased in the U.S. and abroad, which has focused our attention to community resiliency. In the U.S., 2017 and 2018 were two of the most costly years for natural disasters thus far. Specifically, the 2017 Hurricane Season, most notably Harvey, Irma, and Maria, caused an estimated $265 to $306 billion in damages and tested affected communities level of disaster resilience (NOAA 2018). Disaster resilience, often mistaken as the opposite of vulnerability, is the ability for individuals, communities, or society to prepare and plan for, absorb, respond, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. All disasters are local and communities continue to struggle to meet their needs during the short-term recovery phase.

Post-disaster resilience is multi-faceted. While scholars have studied various aspects of community resiliency in the growing literature, there remain gaps in the scientific literature related to emergency management. Most notably (1) meeting community needs during short-term recovery phase following a disaster as evidenced by the prolonged processes and stress associated with disaster recovery, (2) reported health and well-being outcomes by families, communities, and institutions affected by disaster, and (3) translating lessons learned during the short-term recovery phase into long-term recovery and resiliency planning efforts (Kendra et al. 2018; Knox 2017).

Measuring community resilience is challenging; however, it is imperative especially if “communities want to track their progress towards resiliency and target efforts where they most need to improve.” (National Research Council 2012:12). The strategic goals and targets for resiliency and long-term planning often stem from recommendations and lessons learned during the response and short-term recovery phases (Knox 2013). While long-term recovery planning is a critical element of a community’s resiliency, it is often underutilized because of a lack of capacity at the local government level. Multiple types of capacities are needed for resiliency, including community, economic, infrastructure, institutional, and social (Ross 2016; Cutter et al. 2010). Lacking one or more of these capacities can lead to repeated failures, repeated policy and organizational recommendations, and an unequal distribution of goods and services during and after natural or man-made disasters (Knox 2013; Hu et al. 2014; Kim & Marcouiller 2016).

There are disparities in the distribution of disaster risk in a community and disparities in the adverse consequences following disaster exposure. Racial and ethnic minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged are recognized as health disparity populations and experience a disproportionate burden of adverse consequences following disasters due to lack of English proficiency, culturally appropriate risk communication, systemic poverty, segregation, substandard education, and social and political marginalization (Fothergill & Peek 2004; Purtle 2012). Before an event, individuals with inadequate access to health services, high prevalence of chronic illness, and limited capital are less likely to be in a position to prepare for a disaster (Honore 2008). When a disruption or disaster occurs, these are the same populations that require additional resources such as transportation assistance and health services for the treatment of chronic health conditions. Compounding the problem, following disasters, we often see changes in the health care landscape from temporary closures to relocation and permanent closure of facilities resulting in disruptions to continuity of care and access issues in low-income and minority communities (Ford et al. 2006; Guglielmo 2006; Krol et al. 2007). While disparities are exacerbated during disasters, the public attention on inequity presents an opportunity to leverage the attention and influx of resources to improve health equity and bolster resilience for those most vulnerable.

This panel will examine approaches to bolstering resilience at the individual, community, institutional, and policy levels. Papers focused on approaches to resilience from different country settings, methodological, and disciplinary perspectives as well as interdisciplinary approaches; studies of resilience at multiple levels such as individual, community, institutional, and policy levels; examples or exemplars of resilience building interventions; studies that have been translated into action; and practical, empirical, or theoretical work are encouraged.

References

 

Cutter, S. L., Burton, C. G., & Emrich, C. T. (2010). Disaster resilience indicators for benchmarking baseline conditions. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 7(1).

Ford, E. S., Mokdad, A. H., Link, M. W., Garvin, W. S., McGuire, L. C., Jiles, R. B., & Balluz, L. S. (2006). Chronic disease in health emergencies: In the eye of the hurricane. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(2), A46. doi:A46 [pii]

Fothergill, A., & Peek, L. A. (2004). Poverty and disasters in the united states: A review of recent sociological findings. Natural Hazards, 32(1), 89-110.

Guglielmo, W. J. (2006). New orleans’ doctors: Still MIA. Medical Economics, 83(6), 17.

Honore, R. L. (2008). Health disparities: Barriers to a culture of preparedness. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice : JPHMP, 14 Suppl, S5-7. doi:10.1097/01.PHH.0000338381.29071.d6 [doi]

Hu, Q., Knox, C. C., & Kapucu, N. (2014). What Have We Learned Since September 11, 2001? A Network Study of the Boston Marathon Bombings Response. Public Administration Review, 74(6), 698-712.

Kendra, J. M., Clay, L. A., & Gill, K. B. (2018). Resilience and disasters. Handbook of disaster research (pp. 87-107) Springer.

Kim, H. & Marcouiller, D.W. (2016). Natural Disaster Response, Community Resilience, and Economic Capacity: A Case Study of Coastal Florida, Society & Natural Resources, 29:8, 981-997.

Knox, C. C. (2013). Analyzing After Action Reports from Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina: Repeated, Modified, and Newly Created Recommendations. Journal of Emergency Management, 11(2), 160-168.

Knox, C. C. (2017). A Football Field Lost Every 45 Minutes: Evaluating Local Capacity to Implement Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. Coastal Management Journal, 45(3), 233-252.

Krol, D. M., Redlener, M., Shapiro, A., & Wajnberg, A. (2007). A mobile medical care approach targeting underserved populations in post-hurricane katrina mississippi. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 18(2), 331-340.

National Research Council. (2012). Disaster resilience: A national imperative. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2018). https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/

Purtle, J. (2012). Racial and ethnic disparities in post-disaster mental health: Examining the evidence through a lens of social justice. Wash.& Lee J.Civil Rts.& Soc.just., 19, 31.Ford, E. S., Mokdad, A. H., Link, M. W., Garvin, W. S., McGuire, L. C., Jiles, R. B., & Balluz, L. S. (2006). Chronic disease in health emergencies: In the eye of the hurricane. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(2), A46. doi:A46 [pii]

Ross, A. D. (2016). Perceptions of Resilience Among Coastal Emergency Managers. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, 7(1), 4-24.

Panel 17 – Blown out of proportion: When media, literature and popular culture scale events

Conveners: Michael Hutt and Stefanie Lotter (SOAS, University of London)

Abstract: The process of producing news and witnessing disaster has shaped how we understand and relate to natural and man-made crises and their aftermath. It is through media after all, that most of us encounter disaster. While we see the crucial need to mobilise international solidarity to create the means for post-disaster agency, we also acknowledge that the emotional discourse of disaster news can be problematic in its creation of victimhood and selective compassionate action.

Taking media as a starting point for our analysis of disaster and crisis, and contrasting ‘news’ with literary productions as well as plays or lyrics that speak of the same events, will allow us to reflect on the notion of scale in a variety of ways. Scale in the context of mediated disaster is linked to severity, scaling the event as local, national and international news. While new media subverts these categories, it is literature and popular culture that gives individual interpretation a historical dimension and an afterlife.

Rather than scientifically measuring particular disasters, this panel will address the ways in which public cultures, media and literature create and negotiate the fields in which disastrous events are communicated. Reporting and describing disaster makes use of contextual scaling to reach audiences and to make disaster globally visible. Social Media, satellite imagery and mobile phone videos have led to what Thompson termed ‘the transformation of visibility” (Thompson 2006) , a process that has shifted responsibilities as well as the measurement of accountability.

The panel aims to address the field between subjectivity and scale in the realm of media, literature and popular culture. Papers may reflect on social, political or historical scales, relating local, national and global perspectives. Papers may also conceptualise scale as disproportion, situating a single events or individual experience within any particular genre of communicating disaster.

Long Abstract:The process of producing news and witnessing disaster has shaped how we understand and relate to natural and man-made crises and their aftermath. It is through media after all, that most of us encounter disaster. While we see the crucial need to mobilise local, national and international solidarity to create the means for post-disaster agency, we also acknowledge that the emotional discourse of disaster news can be problematic in its creation of victimhood and selective compassionate action.

Taking media as a starting point for our analysis of disaster and crisis, and contrasting ‘news’ with literary productions as well as plays and music that speak of the same events, will allow us to reflect on the notion of scale in a variety of ways. Scale in the context of mediated disaster is linked to severity, scaling the event as local, national and international news. While new media subverts these categories, it is literature and popular culture that gives individual interpretation a historical dimension and an afterlife.

Media has been a biased tool ever since the first internationally mediated disaster in 1755 – the earthquake of Lisbon – struck. While this event inspired international news reports discussing relief efforts, it also prompted the production of literature. Rousseau dismissed city life as a result of the earthquake concluding that clustered living increased casualties, while Voltaire critiqued the idea of divine punishment in his earthquake poem and through the personal accounts of the fictional characters of Candide and Doctor Pangloss who experience the earthquake but – despite the disaster – adhere to philosophical optimism.

Today post-disaster media reports, literature and popular culture are no less diverse in scaling events by invoking narratives of cosmological and climatic change, assessing disaster relief needs and reporting and envisioning individual fate. Rather than scientifically measuring particular disasters, this panel will address the ways in which public cultures, media and literature create and negotiate the fields in which disastrous events are communicated.

Reporting and describing disaster makes use of contextual scaling to reach audiences and to make disaster globally visible. Social Media, satellite imagery and mobile phone videos have led to what Thompson termed ‘the transformation of visibility” (1995,2006), a process that has shifted responsibilities as well as the measurement of accountability.

Most strikingly however, social media has reintroduced the emotional discourse of disaster that had temporarily been relegated to the subjective realm of literature and popular culture while ‘news’ had scaled events and compared suffering. Bias and disproportion in the media can be seen through the discriminating lens of history that has led newspapers in 1755 to report prominently on the sufferings of royalty while contemporary news insists on ignoring black victimhood.

Today an affective public requests individual experience while social media descales previously established measures of proportion.

The panel aims to address the field between subjectivity and scale in the realm of media, literature and popular culture discussing any historical or contemporary disaster. Papers may reflect on social, political or historical scales, relating local, national and global perspectives. Papers may also conceptualise scale as disproportion, situating a single events or individual experience within any particular genre of communicating disaster.

References:

Thompson, John B. 2005. The new visibility. Theory, Culture and Society 22(6): 31-51.

Voltaire, Francois Marie. 1925. “Le Poeme sur le Desastre de Lisbonne en 1755, au Examen de cet Axiome: Tout est bien (1756)”; the text, in French, of the entire poeme is found in George R. Havens, Selections From

Voltaire (New York: Century Pub. Co., 1925), pp. 246-258.

Voltaire, Francois Marie. 1759. Candide Translation Tobias Smollett.

J. J. ROUSSEAU, “Lettre a M. de Voltaire, It 18 aout, 1756,” Oeuvres et Correspondance inedites de J. J. Rousseau.

 

 

 

Panel 16 – Displacement: Examining the complexities of an escalating and vexing social dilemma

Conveners: Susanna Hoffman (Chief, Commission on Risk and Disaster, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnographic Sciences), Andrew Littlejohn (Leiden University), and Irena L. I. Connon (Dundee University)

Abstract: The scale of people displaced by calamity, climate, and development around the world in recent years has grown exponentially. In 2017 alone the number was 44,000 people every day, or one person every two seconds, with a total of 68.5 million, the largest number for the fifth year in a row. Forty percent of them were displaced internally within their own country; sixty to other lands. Forty percent came from developing countries; a surprising sixty percent from the first world. The phenomena has caused great stress not only to the people themselves but to the societies to which they have migrated. Considering the increasingly dismaying “nature” of global circumstances, the numbers and scale will only grow. This panel aims to explore the intricacies of loss and displacement as experienced by those displaced and why resettlement often proves so difficult. While a great deal has been written about the privations and dispossession of people exiled by various causes from their homes and prior lives and why their resettlement often proves difficult, generally the bereavement and intransigence suffered by those displaced has been treated as if singular in constitution. In actuality, a number of distinct facets make up its disposition. Incorporated are at least three vectors of enduring pain and bewilderment: past, home, and place. All of them combine to make adaptation, or lack of it, to new circumstance vexing. Examined will be the fact that while all the threads that make up the despair are personally endured, they also take shape from the aura and structures set by the culture and society of origin. Covered will be loss of cultural and physical surroundings, quotidian habit and sphere, legacy and expectation, and perceptual ambiance. While a people’s past is implicated, so are the present and the future.

Long Abstract:The scale of people displaced by calamity, climate, and development around the world in recent years has grown exponentially. In 2017 alone the number was 44,000 people every day, or one person every two seconds, with a total of 68.5 million, the largest number for the fifth year in a row. Forty percent of them were displaced internally within their own country; sixty to other lands. Forty percent came from developing countries; a surprising sixty percent from the first world. The phenomena has caused great stress not only to the people themselves but to the societies to which they have migrated. Considering the increasingly dismaying “nature” of global circumstances, the numbers and scale will only grow. This panel aims to explore the intricacies of loss and displacement as experienced by those displaced and why resettlement often proves so difficult. While a great deal has been written about the privations and dispossession of people exiled by various causes from their homes and prior lives and why their resettlement often proves difficult, generally the bereavement and intransigence suffered by those displaced has been treated as if singular in constitution. In actuality, a number of distinct facets make up its disposition. Incorporated are at least three vectors of enduring pain and bewilderment: past, home, and place. All of them combine to make adaptation, or lack of it, to new circumstance vexing. Examined will be the fact that while all the threads that make up the despair are personally endured, they also take shape from the aura and structures set by the culture and society of origin. Covered will be loss of cultural and physical surroundings, quotidian habit and sphere, legacy and expectation, and perceptual ambience. Also possibly discussed will be the ramifications of “landless” resettlement in the upheaval of once rural peoples, the duel or more temporalities the displaced live in, the costs of entire communities relocating, and weighs the notion of risk and risk reduction in light of the pain of displacement. While a people’s past is implicated, so are the present and the future. Pertinent to the issue are coping, adaptation, and sustainability, and the strategies and obstacles to them. In order to examine the impacts of displacement and increasing resettlement, the panel crosses over and is open to a number of what are usually treated as diverse concerns: disaster survivors, the increasing number of climate exiles, conflict refugees, and groups forcibly extracted from their milieus for other reasons. It is further open to both theoretical approaches and particular or ethnographic case studies and also to social science, physical or natural science, and practitioner concerns.