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Panel 15 – 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 14 – Crisis governance: Taking on the grand challenges

Conveners: Jeroen Wolbers (Leiden University), Sanneke Kuipers (Leiden University), Kees Boersma (VU University Amsterdam), and Charles Parker (Uppsala University)

Abstract: The purpose of this track is to bring together cutting-edge papers on the topic of crisis governance. Crisis governance is a complex process that has many facets. In its basic form crisis governance is about reducing the impact of a negative, intolerable event. As a crisis forms a threat to the basic structures or the fundamental values and norms of a system, crisis governance requires making vital decisions under time pressure in highly uncertain circumstances (Rosenthal et al., 1989). It entails ad-hoc organizing, directing and forging cooperation, enabling workarounds, but also taking symbolic measures that provide direction and guidance (Boin et al., 2013).

Traditionally, concepts like sensemaking, (Weick, 1993), decision-making (Klein, 1993), coordination (Comfort, 2007), meaning-making (Rosenthal et al., 2001), and accountability (Kuipers & ‘t Hart, 2014) have been central in the study of crisis governance (Hällgren et al., 2018). Recently, important developments have been noted pertaining to the shape of a crisis, such as the transboundary crisis (Boin, 2018), institutional crisis (Schmidt et al., 2017; cf. Boin and ‘t Hart 2000), and in its underlying dynamic, such as the role of fragmentation (Wolbers et al., 2018). The field has also been informed by other emergent topics associated, for instance, with disaster risk reduction in multi-level governance settings.

Despite the growing attention for crisis governance (Kuipers & Welsh, 2017; Hällgren et al., 2018), we still face a number of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological challenges in our field that are crucial to address in the NEEDS community.

  • First, crisis governance is normally studied as a unique event through single case studies, making it difficult to compare across cases (Roux-Dufort, 2007). We could develop a more systematic understanding of the similarities and differences across cases. We call for papers that provide systematic analyses and comparative case studies to identify and theorize patterns across crises and disasters.
  • Second, an important issue in crisis research is hindsight bias, which occurs when studies focus predominantly on tracing back the cause of failure in a crisis. Indeed, much of our knowledge is based on the (historical) reconstruction of crisis governance. We call for studies that use in-depth and real-time data on crisis governance processes, despite of its positive or negative outcome.
  • Third, we lack an encompassing model to explain the effectiveness of crisis governance. Contextual factors seem to have a large role in explaining whether crisis response is effective or not, but can we develop a more generic model that theorizes when crisis governance is effective?

We would like to challenge our fellow academics to advance our knowledge of crisis governance, and call on you to bring forth your own ideas in empirical or conceptual papers on crisis governance that address these challenges and stimulate our discussion at NEEDS4.

The track is hosted by the Leiden University Crisis Research Center (CRC) and the VU Amsterdam in collaboration with the Department of Government and the Center for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS) at Uppsala University.

References

Boin, A. and P. ‘t Hart (2000). Institutional Crises and Reforms in Policy Sectors. Government Institutions: Effects, Changes and Normative Foundations, Boston, MA: Kluwer. H. Wagenaar. Boston, Kluwer Press: 9-31.

Boin, A., Kuipers, S., & Overdijk, W. (2013). Leadership in times of crisis: A framework for assessment. International Review of Public Administration18(1), 79-91.

Boin, A. (2018). The Transboundary Crisis: Why we are unprepared and the road ahead. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

Comfort, L. K. (2007). Crisis management in hindsight: Cognition, communication, coordination, and control. Public Administration Review67, 189-197.

Hällgren, M., Rouleau, L., & De Rond, M. (2018). A matter of life or death: How extreme context research matters for management and organization studies. Academy of Management Annals, 12(1), 111-153.

Klein, G. A. (1993). A recognition-primed decision (RPD) model of rapid decision making (pp. 138-147). New York: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Kuipers, S., & Welsh, N. H. (2017). Taxonomy of the Crisis and Disaster Literature: Themes and Types in 34 Years of Research. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy,8(4), 272-283.

Kuipers, S., & ‘t Hart, P.(2014)Accounting for Crises, Oxford Handbook of Public Accountability, 589-602

Rosenthal, U., M. Charles and P. ’t Hart. (Eds.) (1989). Coping with Crisis: The Management of Disasters, Riots and Terrorism. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas

Rosenthal, U., Boin, R. A., & Comfort, L. K. (2001). The changing world of crises and crisis management. Managing crises: Threats, dilemmas, opportunities, 5-27.

Roux‐Dufort, C. (2007). Is crisis management (only) a management of exceptions? Journal of contingencies and crisis management15(2), 105-114.

Schmidt, A., Boersma, K., & Groenewegen, P. (2018). Management strategies in response to an institutional crisis: The case of earthquakes in the Netherlands. Public Administration.

Weick, K. E. (1993). The collapse of sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch disaster. Administrative science quarterly, 628-652.

Wolbers, J., Boersma, K., & Groenewegen, P. (2018). Introducing a Fragmentation Perspective on Coordination in Crisis Management. Organization Studies, 39(11), pp. 1521–1546.

Panel 13 – 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 12 – 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 11 – Disaster diplomacy

Conveners: Christian Webersik (University of Agder, Centre for Integrated Emergency Management) and Ilan Kelman (University College London)

Abstract: Disaster risks are expected to continue increasing globally as more people move to disaster-prone regions, as more infrastructure is built, as economic activities expand, and as the environment continues changing. With these changes, fears over disputes and conflicts have been voiced including with respect to geopolitical tensions.

One approach for examining cross-border disaster-related activities

is disaster diplomacy. Disaster diplomacy examines one aspect of disaster-politics interactions: how disaster-related activities (disaster risk reduction, disaster response, and disaster recovery) do and do not impact diplomatic collaboration. Violent and non-violent conflicts are mitigated, seeking cooperation modes through disaster-related work. Major gaps exist in disaster diplomacy work regarding the type of disasters expected, such as nuclear incidents, resource conflicts, and health-related events.

This panel will contribute to the body of research on disaster diplomacy, examining how and why disaster-related activities might or might not be used more to foster international relations. The focus will be on understanding, and determining strengths and gaps in, laws, policies, and formal and informal mechanisms and competencies relevant to disaster-related activities involving international relations.

Long Abstract:One framework for examining cross-border disaster-related activities is disaster diplomacy. Disaster diplomacy examines one aspect of disaster-politics interactions: how disaster-related activities (disaster risk reduction and disaster response) do and do not impact political and diplomatic collaboration (Kelman 2012, 2016). Much disaster diplomacy research has focused on violent conflict and countries deemed to be ‘enemies’ such as Greece-Turkey from the 1950s to the 1990s (Ker-Lindsay 2007); Cuba-USA when Fidel Castro led Cuba (Glantz 2000); and climate change leading to sub-Saharan war (Buhaug 2010; Burke et al. 2009). Less disaster diplomacy work has explored how political conflict could be influenced by disaster diplomacy. For example, Kelman (2007) speculated how disaster diplomacy could frame how Hurricane Katrina felling forests might influence the USA’s long-running lumber dispute with Canada.

Meanwhile, most disaster diplomacy work has focused on environmental hazards. Greece-Turkey disaster diplomacy has been influenced primarily by earthquakes (Ker Lindsay 2007) with small impacts from wildfires, tsunamis, storms, and floods (Koukis et al. 2016). Cuba-USA disaster diplomacy has been mainly climate- and weather-related (Glantz 2000; Kelman 2007) although Glantz (2000) discusses how wind patterns could have distributed over the southern USA fallout from an incident at Cuba’s Juragua Nuclear Power Plant if the plant had ever been completed. The few, detailed disaster diplomacy case studies not involving environmental hazards include a train explosion in North Korea in 2004 (Kelman 2012), poisoning in Morocco in 1959 (Segalla 2012), and Southeast Asia Regional Haze over previous decades (Brauer and Hisham-Hashim 1998; Islam et al. 2016).

Recent work (Kelman 2016) has looked at health diplomacy and medical diplomacy within a disaster diplomacy framework. The argument is that epidemics and pandemics are cross-border disasters. Both health diplomacy and medical diplomacy are well-developed and tested in research, policy, and practice (Aginam 2003; Ansari 2013; Iglehart 2004). Most work has focused on achieving health objectives despite conflict, such as smallpox and polio eradication (Barrett 2003), without necessarily determining the theory or practice of whether or not health objectives could or should be used to resolve conflict (Araya and Barbara 2008; Vas 2001). Health-related disaster diplomacy could be a significant aspect of cross-border nuclear incidents, yet little research has covered this topic thus far, nor with respect to digital opportunities for crossing borders no matter what the state of affairs being governments.

While neither war nor other forms of violent conflict are necessarily expected between hostile/neighbouring countries, many possibilities remain for potential disaster diplomacy including three novel applications of the disaster diplomacy framework:

•Disasters which do not necessarily involve environmental hazards, including nuclear incidents such as nuclear power plants and nuclear-powered vessels.

•Significant political disagreement/conflict over Arctic resources.

•Health diplomacy for a disaster, especially with regards to epidemics and pandemics.

The hypothesis to be explored in this panel is:

• Disaster-related activities could and should be used much more to foster international relations.

• With climate change affecting the globe, even more than in lower latitudes, new opportunities for oil and gas exploitation as well as shipping will create new risks in terms of accidents

The research questions investigated to confirm or refute this hypothesis are:

• What are the security implications of climate change?

•Which legal and policy frameworks, mechanisms, and competencies exist for disaster-related activities?

•What informal mechanisms and competencies exist for disaster-related activities?

•How could needed mechanisms and competencies for disaster diplomacy be maintained and enhanced?

Panel 10 – 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 9 – 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.