Accepted Paper:

The impact of contemporary disasters on global food systems from an anthropology of disaster perspective  


Susanna Hoffman (International Commission on Risk and Disaster)

Paper Short Abstract:

A number of recent disasters have impacted global food systems. While much has been examined of these disasters from the food security perspective, little disaster theory has been utilized. Examined here are the effects of these disasters on worldwide food from the anthropology of disaster studies point of view.

Paper long abstract:

In recent decades, a number of so-called "natural" and technological disasters, including melt-down, typhoon, drought, flood, earthquake, and fire, have impacted not only lives and health of effected communities but have involved major impacts on their food consumption, production, and viability of land. Quite critically, the repercussions of many have extended far beyond the local to involve worldwide implications, most significantly on global food systems. Since the inception of the field, anthropological concepts and constructions have been and remain at the core of the development and implementation of disaster theory and understanding. Yet, while much has been examined about the impacts of these recent disasters on both local and global food systems from the food security perspective, little disaster theory has been utilized to illuminate the development and unfolding of these calamities, and in particular on their global consequences. In the belief that it is crucial at this point to apply comprehensive disaster and anthropological understanding on these catastrophes, especially in light of future implications, this paper examines the worldwide effects of numerous disasters on global food systems from the disaster studies point of view. Included will be such concepts as construction and perception of risk, vulnerability, and the complex issues of recovery and reconstruction.

Panel P081
Sustainably solving the causes and consequences of the global food crisis: new roles, multi-decade challenges and expanded opportunities for anthropologists to provide significant aid