Broken worlds: climate disaster, ruination, and gendered crises in Vietnam
Helle Rydstrom (Lund University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the gender differentiated impacts of storms in a masculinized fishing community in Vietnam. The paper engages with tendencies in disaster anthropology to understand a catastrophe as a parenthesis of daily life, which is to be dealt with so things can return to "normal".
Paper long abstract:
As the Anthropocene is pushing human life into planetary terra incognita (Galaz et.al. 2017), the need for studies of the gendering of climate hazards, disasters, and ramifications has become urgent. The Anthropocene is profoundly uneven with some habitats being particularly disposed to ruination and some groups being exceptionally precarious to the perils of climate change (Oliver-Smith and Hoffman 2012; Stoler 2013). The hazards of the Anthropocene, however, should not be conflated with the socio-economic and political antecedents already framing life prior to a climate disaster (Enarson and Chakrabarti 2009; Hewitt 2016). This paper explores the socially differentiated impacts of storms in a masculinized fishing community in coastal Vietnam. The paper engages with tendencies in disaster anthropology to understand a catastrophe as a parenthesis of daily life, which is to be dealt with so things can return to "normal" (Agamben 1998; Walby 2015). While the imperative for post-disaster healing is indisputable, translating a climate catastrophe into a bracketing of "normal" life calls for scrutiny. This paper argues that a crisis perspective offers a productive entry point to the study of the Anthropocene by directing our attention to the entanglements between a disastrous crisis of emergency and a spectrum of crises antecedents such as gendered livelihoods, hierarchies, and violences (Bradshaw 2009). When various crises modalities, intensities, and temporalities intersect, a crisis in context might metamorphose into crisis as context (Vigh 2008); into a crisis of chronicity which challenges the reconstruction of a broken world and a return to pre-disaster normalcy.
Anthropology of re-construction: exploring and thinking the remaking of broken worlds [Disaster and Crisis Anthropology Network]