Accepted Paper:

Past-forwarding ancient calamities. Possibilistic thinking, historical thinking and disaster risk reduction  
Felix Riede (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

Using volcanic eruptions as example, this paper argues that the geo-cultural heritage of ancient calamities can be a productive foundation for scenario-based adaptation measures to natural disasters.

Paper long abstract:

Extreme climatic events and natural disasters often have a recurrence periodicity beyond that of ethnographic, sociological and at times even historical investigation. In a deep historical perspective focused on geo-cultural heritage, however, human communities of many different kinds have been affected by numerous kinds of natural disasters that may provide useful data for scenario-based risk reduction management vis-à-vis future calamities. Using selected past volcanic eruptions as examples and merging Lee Clarke's sociological argument for 'possibilistic thinking' and David Staley's notion of 'historical thinking' with a concern for contemporary and future resilience, this papers suggests that such comparative, cross-cultural 'palaeosocial' information on the constellations of vulnerability and resilience pertinent to deep-time disasters can be 'past-forwarded' and used in present-day disaster risk reduction.

Panel P03
Climate Change and the Future: Exploring the 'Social Time' of Transformation through Scenario-based Practice