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Panel 14 – 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 13 – Accessibility in emergency preparedness

Conveners: Dawid Wladyka and Katarzyna Sepielak (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

Abstract: World Health Organization estimates over 1 billion people living with some form of disability worldwide. They account for 15% of global population, including up to 4% of the 15 and older people living with significant difficulties in functioning. Moreover, due to the expanding life expectancy and aging, the disability rates are continuously increasing. At the same time, people with a disability are among the groups most vulnerable to disasters including increased risk of loss of life, insufficient care, and more challenging recovery. On the other hand, the onset of disasters is one of the drivers for further increasing disability rates in the hazard vulnerable areas. These vulnerabilities are especially relevant when coexisting with other socio-economic disadvantages including poverty, migratory status or language proficiency. In the areas with significant presence of foreign populations, the presence of communities that struggle with dominant language proficiency is not uncommon. Both disabilities and linguistic barriers could result with unfamiliarity with evacuation procedures, cause the warnings to go unnoticed, the risks to be assessed inadequately, and hinder recovery from emergencies. Moreover, this increased vulnerability does not stop at the disadvantaged groups but has a potential to expose larger community at risk. For example, the caregivers are exposed to higher rates of poverty due to increased caring after the disaster.

This panel discusses disabilities together with other coexisting disaster vulnerabilities in hazard prone areas. It aims to explore many interlaced issues like accessible local emergency preparedness materials published on websites of local authorities, discrepancies and unequal dissemination of information across the regions, including overall access to emergency preparedness information, language translations, source of content, types of media used and their accessibility to vulnerable groups. The discussion will also focus on the problem of awareness of the local stakeholders regarding the linguistic needs of the population, as well as their perspectives on the engagement of vulnerable groups through collaborative partnerships during planning in non-emergency times, including the implementation of translation and interpreting, and the problem of the effectiveness of functional need support services in the emergency shelters.

Long abstract: World Health Organization estimates over 1 billion people living with some form of disability worldwide. They account for 15% of global population, including up to 4% of the 15 and older people living with significant difficulties in functioning. Moreover, due to the expanding life expectancy and aging, the disability rates are continuously increasing. At the same time, people with a disability are among the groups most vulnerable to disasters. Studies provide evidence indicating the increased risk of loss of life, insufficient care, and more challenging recovery. On the other hand, the onset of disasters is one of the drivers for further increasing physical disability rates in the hazard vulnerable areas. These vulnerabilities are especially relevant when coexisting with other socio-economic disadvantages including poverty, migratory status or language proficiency. In the areas with significant presence of foreign populations, the presence of communities that struggle with dominant language proficiency is not uncommon. For example, both disabilities and linguistic barriers could result with unfamiliarity with evacuation procedures, cause the warnings to go unnoticed, the risks to be assessed inadequately, and hinder recovery from emergencies. Moreover, this increased vulnerability does not stop at the disadvantaged groups themselves but has a potential to expose larger community at risk. For example, the caregivers are exposed to higher rates of poverty due to increased caring after the disaster.

While there are still many uncertainties regarding the accessibility issues during a developing disaster event, some policies already enforce or recommend development of accessible emergency preparedness. For example, insufficient resources and services to accommodate most people with a disability in appropriate shelters prompted Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States to publish guidelines aimed at integrating people with disabilities into general population shelters, and Functional Need Support Services toolkits were introduced as a guideline to existing and new shelters. Nonetheless, research indicates obstacles in adopting those regulations, including overwhelmed emergency managers and lack of expertise. On the other hand, one needs to remember that information is a pillar of disaster resiliency and plays a major role in all phases of emergency management. In the United States, some policies already enforce accessible emergency preparedness information. Federal entities mandate that vulnerable populations must have access to and cannot be excluded from emergency plans and programs. However, those policies are not necessarily comprehensive. Only some broadcasting modes are mandated to be accessible locally, while regulations on websites apply exclusively at the federal level. This approach is far from empowering emergency management best practices at the local level. It negatively affects diversification of information sources and “universalization” of accessibility, i.e. reaching various vulnerable groups with use of a common modality, like captions that can be used by various groups, including hard of hearing and foreign immigrants.

This panel discusses disabilities together with other coexisting disaster vulnerabilities in hazard prone areas. It aims to explore many interlaced issues like accessible local emergency preparedness materials published on websites of local authorities, discrepancies and unequal dissemination of information across the regions, including overall access to emergency preparedness information, language translations, source of content, types of media used and their accessibility to vulnerable groups. The discussion will also focus on the problem of awareness of the local stakeholders regarding the linguistic needs of the population, as well as their perspectives on the engagement of vulnerable groups through collaborative partnerships during planning in non-emergency times, including the implementation of translation and interpreting, and the problem of the effectiveness of functional need support services in the emergency shelters.

Panel 11 – Institutional learning in times of increased refugee movements and humanitarian crises

Conveners: Patricia Schütte (Public Safety and Emergency Management, Bergische Universität Wuppertal) and Cordula Dittmer (Disaster Research Unit (DRU), Freie Universität Berlin) 

Abstract: At the peak of the increased refugee movement from the Middle East to Central Europe between late summer 2015 and spring 2016, public institutions, disaster relief organizations, and civil society faced circumstances that some labeled the “refugee crisis”. In many European countries, relevant stakeholders instantly operated at full capacity and formed ad-hoc networks to tackle the overwhelming situation in a cooperative approach. Such responses can been found in other (humanitarian) crisis situations and evoke the question how institutional learning takes place and can be facilitated.

Applicants to this panel are invited to contribute to the following topics (but not limited to):

– Evaluation of experiences during the refugee movements, and other (humanitarian) crisis situations: How do the specific circumstances influence relevant stakeholders and their interorganisational collaboration? Which specific types of cooperation and ad-hoc measures can be identified? Which challenges and opportunities unfold in the collaboration of stakeholders?

– Strengthening stakeholders for future crises:

o Which “good practices” and “lessons learned” can be identified and worked up for similar crisis situations in the future? How can stakeholders (jointly) prepare for crises to be able to act together?

– Promoting interorganisational learning:

o How to design a sustainable knowledge management that integrates all perspectives and necessary package of measures in order to support key actors when dealing with challenges in the future? How and what can they learn together? How can technology facilitate interorganizational learning?

– Theoretical and conceptual perspectives on institutional learning:

o Which concepts and theories are already used? Are new concepts/theories emerging? What is specific for concepts such as learning and knowledge in the field of crisis and disaster management?

Long Abstract:At the peak of the increased refugee movement from the Middle East to Central Europe between late summer 2015 and spring 2016, public institutions, disaster relief organizations, and civil society faced circumstances that some labeled the “refugee crisis”. In many European countries, relevant stakeholders instantly operated at full capacity and formed ad-hoc networks to tackle the overwhelming situation in a cooperative approach.

Such responses can been found in other (humanitarian) crisis situations and evoke the question how institutional learning takes place and can be facilitated.

In order to preserve organizational knowledge over time, a knowledge management system needs to be maintained. Organizations themselves do not have a memory per se. And individuals change their positions, they retire, they leave, which makes it hard to keep knowledge in a systematized manner.

Good practices and modes of cooperation are currently more a kind of a “black box” when taking a closer look at how stakeholders adapt to crisis situations, how they built up their ad-hoc networks, what their successes and failures were. It can be assumed that, especially in such demanding situations, there are no additional personal resources to keep an extra eye on management approaches in real time. Even at “peace time” resources for extensive wrap-ups are scarce. Therefore, it is little wonder that detailed documentation and evaluations of approaches, responses, practices in situations such as the increased refugee movement 2015/16 are often missing. Without such documentation and evaluation organizations might “forget” how they acted once and, in the last resort, repeat their own mistakes in future crises or use up valuable resources to re-invent approaches, responses and practices.

Panel 10 – Inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters

Conveners: Sara Bondesson (Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defence University, and Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS)) and Frederike Albrecht (Department of Government and Department for Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, and Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS))

Abstract: In light of increasingly devastating natural hazards affecting societies marked by gendered, racial and economic inequalities, this panel convenes research on inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters. Structural inequalities based on gender, age, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, sexuality or economic status are generally connected with uneven distribution of risks in relation to natural hazards such as storms, floods or earthquakes. Already marginalized groups are often unequally affected. Scholars have focused mostly on gendered effects of disasters, but apart from such research, this panel also seeks to explore a few interconnected topics. The panel invites scholars who make use of diverse theoretical and methodological approaches. We welcome research that integrates intersectional theory into disaster studies to learn more about how different types of marginalization interconnect in disaster contexts. Researchers focusing on how norms of masculinity operate in disaster situations are also welcome. Empirical studies on shifts and changes in gender roles in the aftermath of disasters are moreover of interest. We further invite discursive readings of underlying gendered assumptions or other conceptual logics that mark the fields of disaster management, disaster risk reduction or climate change adaptation. By discussing on-going research on these understudied topics, the panel will gather critical insights about urgent issues of inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters.

Long Abstract:In light of increasingly devastating natural hazards affecting societies marked by gendered, racial and economic inequalities, this panel convenes research on inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters. Structural inequalities based on gender, age, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, sexuality or economic status are generally connected with uneven distribution of risks in relation to natural hazards such as storms, floods or earthquakes. Already marginalized groups are often unequally affected. Yet social inequality and disasters are intertwined in complex ways. While social inequality produces heightened vulnerability for some groups, disasters often fuel further reproduction of social inequality. However, some research instead points to how disasters sometimes function as opportunities for transformation of power imbalances.

So far, scholars have focused mostly on gendered effects of disasters, and this growing body of research provides important knowledge for anyone interested in disaster related inequalities and structurally differentiated vulnerability. Apart from such research, this panel also seeks to explore a few interconnected, yet understudied topics. The panel invites scholars who make use of diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to study issues of inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters.

Firstly, by integrating intersectional theory into research on disasters, scholars may explore how different types of marginalization interconnect in disaster contexts. Secondly, research that critically reflects on discursively dominant assumptions about women’s vulnerability is needed. Such research may for example problematize how categories of men and women are constituted in dualistic, stereotyping manners, which in turn renders non-binary communities invisible in disaster management and risk reduction. Furthermore, research that explores the discursive boundaries of the policy fields of for example Disaster Risk Reduction or Climate Change Adaptation will be included. These policy fields are often grounded in apolitical techno-managerial narratives and further research would provide insights into whether and how this limit the thinkable range of possible political solutions to disaster inequalities. Finally, scholarship on men and masculinities has put attention on how norms of masculinity operate in disaster ridden societies, yet more research on this topic is warranted. Such research may also be linked to empirical studies on shifts and changes in gender roles in the aftermath of disasters. By discussing on-going research on these understudied topics, the panel will gather critical insights about urgent issues of inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters.

Panel 9 – The politics and performance of civil preparations for crisis and war

Conveners: Oscar Larsson (SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) and Christine Agius (Swinburne University)

Abstract: There is a current trend in Sweden and other welfare states to promote individual preparations as a way to build societal resilience. The ongoing shift of transferring responsibility for security and wellbeing in extraordinary circumstances stand in need of critical analyses of why, when and how politics of responsibility emerge. Thus, understanding and explaining how states prepare for war and crisis management and how they engage and involve their citizens in the overall preparation requires critical attention and analysis. Military exercises and recruitment, civil contingency plans and simulated performances becomes intimately interrelated in policy. In addition, discursive configurations and metaphors play an important role in the communication and powerful images provided by the state that advances feelings of insecurity and self-reliance rather than collective responses. Obviously, individualizing security requires a specific logic or rationality and the panel explores different routes and trajectories to how such a specific reading of security have come to emerge. The overall purpose of the panel would thus be to initiate a critical discussions on the content, logics and arguments for increased preparedness among the population and not least the implications of preparations that seem to reinforce militarized notions of sovereignty, implicate gender roles, identities that operates on capability or vulnerability and not least opens up questions for state-citizen relationship in the face of crises, disasters and wars.

Long Abstract:There is a current trend in Sweden and other welfare states to promote individual preparations as a way to build societal resilience. The ongoing shift of transferring responsibility for security and wellbeing in extraordinary circumstances stand in need of critical analyses of why, when and how politics of responsibility emerge. Thus, understanding and explaining how states prepare for war and crisis management and how they engage and involve their citizens in the overall preparation requires critical attention and analysis. Military exercises and recruitment, civil contingency plans and simulated performances becomes intimately interrelated in policy.

In addition, discursive configurations and metaphors play an important role in the communication and powerful images provided by the state that advances feelings of insecurity and self-reliance rather than collective responses. Obviously, individualizing security requires a specific logic or rationality and the panel explores different routes and trajectories to how such a specific reading of security have come to emerge. The overall purpose of the panel would thus be to initiate a critical discussions on the content, logics and arguments for increased preparedness among the population and not least the implications of preparations that seem to reinforce militarized notions of sovereignty, implicate gender roles, identities that operates on capability or vulnerability and not least opens up questions for state-citizen relationship in the face of crises, disasters and wars.

This panel aims to explore the multiple and varied ways in which “preparedness” operates and speaks to dominant discourses of security provision. The individual papers together either comprise or adopts an interdisciplinary approach, examining various kinds of materials, including texts (such as pamphlets issued to the public on threat and preparedness), informational movies and podcasts produced by public authorities, as well as other images and performances of preparedness in both civil and military frameworks of meaning. This shows that fear, uncertainty and war preparedness enters the everyday experience of citizens and is further advanced in the form of popular culture and consumption. From these cases, the panel aims to critically explore what civil and war preparedness means and how it operates in the spaces between war and peace.

Panel 4 ROUNDTABLE Author meets critics: Learning from Hurricane Katrina

Conveners: Arjen Boin (Leiden University) and Fredrik Bynander (Swedish Defence University)

Abstract: Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in US history. The assessments have been harsh: Katrina has become a byword for failure. The president failed, the federal government failed (FEMA/DHS), the state of Louisiana failed, the city administration of New Orleans failed. Or so the assessments tell us.

In the book Managing Hurricane Katrina: Lessons from a Megacrisis (published by Louisiana State University Press, published in 2019), the authors Arjen Boin, Christer Brown and Jim Richardson draw lessons that other national systems may exploit to improve their response system in the face of mega disasters.

Many reports have been written on the Katrina response. Most of these lack a clear discussion of the underlying assessment framework. This book seeks to remedy this fallacy. It offers a clear framework that can be used to fairly assess how the various actors reacted to this disaster. The book then applies this framework to provide a fresh assessment of the Katrina response. The authors argue that these popular assessments somehow missed (or de-emphasized) all the things that went really and surprisingly well in the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Building on an extensive review of the many reports and inquiries, and drawing on insights from crisis and disaster management studies, this book identifies the critical factors that determine the success and failures of a societal response to super disasters. It explains how federal, state and local actors can learn from Hurricane Katrina and start designing the building blocks for an effective and legitimate response.

The proposed panel brings together three seasoned academic practitioners who will critically assess the relevance of these findings for European nations: Prof. Bengt Sundelius (long-time advisor to the Swedish Emergency Management Agency), Dr. Annika Brandstrom (head of the Swedish crisis response organization) and Dr. Sanneke Kuipers (consultant at Crisisplan and director of the Leiden University Crisis Research Center). The panel is convened by Dr Fredrik Bynander (director of the Center for Societal Security, Swedish National Defence University) and one of the authors of the book, Prof. Arjen Boin (Leiden University).

Long Abstract:Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in US history. The assessments have been harsh: Katrina has become a byword for failure. The president failed, the federal government failed (FEMA/DHS), the state of Louisiana failed, the city administration of New Orleans failed. Or so the assessments tell us.

In the book Managing Hurricane Katrina: Lessons from a Megacrisis (published by Louisiana State University Press, published in the spring of 2019), the authors Arjen Boin, Christer Brown and Jim Richardson investigate this popular assessment. They not only arrive at a different and much more subtle verdict, they also draw lessons that other national systems may exploit to improve their response system in the face of mega disasters.

The authors argue that these popular assessments somehow missed (or de-emphasized) all the things that went really and surprisingly well in the response to Hurricane Katrina. They then formulate an important question: what is the underlying framework that evaluators use to assess the response to a super disaster? How do they determine that “government failed” in circumstances that are hard to prepare for and often nearly impossible to do well?

Many reports have been written on the Katrina response and most of these lack a clear discussion of the underlying assessment framework. This book seeks to remedy this fallacy. It offers a clear framework that can be used to fairly assess how the various actors reacted to this disaster. The book then applies this framework to provide a fresh assessment of the Katrina response.

The results of the assessment provide a more nuanced perspective on the Katrina response. It was not all perfect, but the response certainly was not as bad as official and media reports made it out to be. This book invites the reader to reconsider the role of government in the face of disaster.

The book also draws lessons for those who have to prepare for and handle future disasters. Many lessons were learned by a host of academics and inquiries (Hurricane Katrina may well be the most extensively studied disaster in history). But these lessons are quite contradictory when viewed in concert; more importantly, some of these lessons are plain wrong.

Building on an extensive review of the many reports and inquiries, and drawing on insights from crisis and disaster management studies, this book identifies the critical factors that determine the success and failures of a societal response to super disasters. It explains how federal, state and local actors can learn from Hurricane Katrina and start designing the building blocks for an effective and legitimate response.

Panel 8 – Disruptive elements: Recurring disasters and gendered lives in Asia

Conveners: Helle Rydstrom (Department of Gender Studies, Lund University) and Claudia Merli (Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University)

Abstract: While the Anthropocene is overall encompassing, it is also uneven. Some places are more predisposed to disasters than others and some people’s lifeworlds and livelihoods are more precarious in relation to climate hazards than others. The extent to which the Global South is confronted with climate-related disasters compared to the Global North is conspicuous, as is the extent to which various groups are negatively impacted by a climate disaster (Fordham et al. 2013; Wisner et al. 2012). People across Asia live with recurring disruptions to their lives due to extreme weather such as monsoon rains, typhoons, floods, fires, and landslides as well as volcanic eruptions (ESCAP 2015). Rather than being exceptional upheavals, and a bracketing of ordinary life, these damaging events are increasingly characterized by their recurrence and the prolonged impact they inflict upon people, property, and societies. Informed by ethnographic accounts, this panel explores from an interdisciplinary methodologically investigative perspective how various groups are rendered precarious and affected by disasters in differentiated ways due to their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, class, and bodyableness (Bradshaw 2013; Enarson and Chakrabarti 2009).

Long Abstract:Human interventions in nature is said to have propelled us into the era of the Anthropocene, into the Geological Age of Man (Crutzen and Stormer 2000; UNEP 2018). Founded on an a priori division between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’, the notion of the Anthropocene might be like a ‘poisonous gift’ (Latour 2014) for the social sciences in paradoxically both embracing and eschewing a differentiation of matter and meaning (Haraway et al. 2015; MacGregor 2017). While the Anthropocene is overall encompassing, it is also uneven. Some places are more predisposed to disasters than others and some people’s lifeworlds and livelihoods are more precarious in relation to climate hazards than others. The extent to which the Global South is confronted with climate-related disasters compared to the Global North is conspicuous, as is the extent to which various groups are negatively impacted by a climate disaster (Fordham et al. 2013; Wisner et al. 2012). People across Asia live with recurring disruptions to their lives due to extreme weather such as monsoon rains, typhoons, floods, fires, and landslides as well as volcanic eruptions (ESCAP 2015). Rather than being exceptional upheavals, and a bracketing of ordinary life, these damaging events are increasingly characterized by their recurrence and the prolonged impact they inflict upon people, property, and societies. Informed by ethnographic accounts, this panel explores from an interdisciplinary methodologically investigative perspective how various groups are rendered precarious and affected by disasters in differentiated ways due to their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, class, and bodyableness (Bradshaw 2013; Enarson and Chakrabarti 2009). In doing so, the panel unfolds the differing ways in which various groups in particular Asian contexts are exposed to, cope with, and resist climate change and how various types of crises’ antecedents exacerbate the consequences and ramifications of a catastrophic event. The papers included in the panel thus critically consider experience of labor in dealing with the effects of disasters; pain as experience in disaster; disruption in livelihood and work activities; caring for others in times of crisis; disability and embodiment in disasters; gendered protections and risk perceptions; displacement and forced migration; and violence, death, and mourning.