Accepted Paper:

Expertocracy and expert imagination in post-disaster resettlement and recovery in the Ecuadorian highlands  

Author:

A.J. Faas (San Jose State University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I discuss responders and experts working for nongovernmental organizations attempting to work with disaster-affected communities in the Ecuadorian highlands by adopting local practices in resettlement construction and administration, while imposing their own standards of practice.

Paper long abstract:

All too often, policy makers and practitioners imagine local culture as static, unchanging, or holistic, and overlook the variegated, shifting, and contingent compositions of culture(s), increasing the likelihood of problems in disaster policy practice. In this paper, I discuss how well-meaning responders and experts working for nongovernmental organizations attempted to work with disaster-affected communities in the Ecuadorian highlands by adopting local practices as core elements in resettlement construction and administration. These practices were disembedded from local contexts and re-embedded in expert imagination, resulting in critical local adaptations and the cooptation of local relations and discourses of power and social obligation.

Panel LL-AS07
The scope of the anthropology of risk and disaster