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Accepted Paper:

In search of sense: the social construction of a catastrophe in Martinique  
Giovanna Salome

Paper short abstract:

In August 16th 2005 a plane crash caused the death of 152 martinican people: disaster bursts into everyday life and produces the urgency to look for sense. This paper explores the plurality of discursive and symbolic practices implemented by the social actors facing the disaster.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents an ethnographic study carried out in Martinique three years after the plane crash of August 16th 2005. The analysis will focus on the different forms of action and resignification implemented by the relatives of the missing passengers ("indirect victims").

Disasters are not just external agents perturbing the balance of a community, but events that individuals live, embody and re-elaborate. Disasters, therefore, produce the urgency to look for sense and to establish causes and responsibilities.

Within the process of continuous social production of the catastrophic reality, the "indirects victimes" and the whole martinican community refuse the unacceptable hypothesis of the fortune/misfortune.

An analysis of the plurality of discursive and symbolic practices produced on and around the disaster will permit to reflect upon the different strategies through which individuals reconstruct the event, give it a new meaning and reposition themselves in relation to it.

Panel W098
Chance in time of crisis
  Session 1