Anthropology and disaster studies: a symbiotic relationship (DICAN - EASA Disaster and Crisis Anthropology Network)

Seumas Bates (University of Glasgow)
Andrea Butcher (University of Exeter)
Allen Abramson (UCL)
Room 1
Start time:
15 April, 2015 at 9:15
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Disaster Studies has always been multi-disciplinary, and recent anthropological engagement with 'disaster' has demonstrated the potential anthropology has to contribute more widely to the field, its respective disciplines, and wider institutions. This panel hopes to explore these relationships.

Long abstract:

Until fairly recently, anthropology had not made a significant impact on disaster studies, a field dominated instead by scholars of geography, politics, and sociology. The emergence of a vibrant anthropological canon exploring disaster, however, offers an exciting opportunity to discuss the anthropology of disaster as part of a wider interdisciplinary disaster studies. As disaster anthropologists Oliver-Smith and Hoffman (2001: 6) have observed: "Few contexts provide a social science with more opportunity for theoretical synthesis of its various concerns than does the study of disaster provide anthropology." This theoretical synthesis extends to an examination of the symbiotic relationships and collaborations anthropology has with its disciplinary and institutional "others". Whether focusing upon application of anthropology at the time of disaster response, the ethnographies produced to document these responses, or scholarship that interrogates related or peripheral consequences and impacts of disaster and catastrophe, we seek to expose the ways that disaster anthropology is produced through such symbiotic collaborations. This panel is thus open to anthropologists and those in related disciplines wishing to present work that engages with disaster and catastrophe, both as part of our broader participation with wider disaster studies, and separate from it, as part of wider anthropology. As such, we encourage submissions which directly engage with the symbioses between anthropology and disaster studies either historically or more recently, as well as examples of contemporary anthropological research into disaster and catastrophe, including (but not limited too) disaster management and planning, recovery, evacuation and migration, and cultural impact.