Accepted Paper:

Binding Responsibility in DRR - "Documenting" the Sendai Framework   

Authors:

Christie Oh (University of Toronto)
Gabby Resch (University of Toronto)
Gabby Resch (University of Toronto)
Gabby Resch (University of Toronto)

Paper short abstract:

Disaster risk reduction has emerged as a systematic bridge between sustainable development, civic resilience, and disaster preparedness. We present a “document biography” of the Sendai Framework to consider multiple meanings of “binding” with regard to questions of responsibility and authority.

Paper long abstract:

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) has emerged as a systematic bridge between sustainable development, civic resilience, and disaster preparedness. While promoting accumulative economic growth in developing countries, organizations like the UN encourage a DRR orientation that takes sustainable development and the reduction of disaster risk to be inherently bound phenomena. An aim of this orientation is to bind resilience to infrastructure development, such that mitigating disaster-associated economic, social, and cultural impacts becomes an ongoing civic responsibility.

Following Kopytoff ("things") and Gosden & Marshall ("objects"), and inspired by Buckland's (2007) call to trace the life-cycle of individual documents to show their formation, their relationships with other documents, and their influences, we present a "document biography" of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Underpinning Sendai is a recognition of the primary role of the State in reducing disaster risk, coupled with an acknowledgement that responsibility should be distributed among various stakeholders (including local government and the private sector). In opposition to this, authors like Rebecca Solnit have argued that new publics emerge in disasters despite government management, positioning the document as a site of contestation. We trace Sendai (and its precursors) to consider how its materiality conditions future responses to disaster risk, and to examine how such frameworks are constituted as hybrid material-digital documents. In doing this, we account for multiple meanings of "binding" - legal binding; binding of risk and responsibility - that are brought to bear on the question of document authority in the face of disaster risk.

Panel T036
Social Studies of Politics: Making Collectives By All Possible Means