JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for RADIX Archives


RADIX Archives

RADIX Archives


RADIX@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

RADIX Home

RADIX Home

RADIX  November 2013

RADIX November 2013

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

reconstruction

From:

"Anthony R. Oliver-Smith" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Anthony R. Oliver-Smith

Date:

Fri, 8 Nov 2013 14:49:23 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (81 lines)

  Hello All,

Important discussion on reconstruction.  The following four paragraphs 
are abstracted from an introductory chapter I wrote for the book  The 
Legacy of Mitch: Lessons from Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Honduras, 
Ensor, M.J (ed.)   Tempe: The University of Arizona Press.  It is a 
somewhat pessimistic view, based on what happened in Honduras.  There is 
also an editorial I wrote for the IJDRR (March 2013) that speaks to the 
point that Ian makes about the progress in research and the failure to 
reduce risk.

The fundamental question that needs to be asked is how reconstruction 
can address the complex of environmental, economic and social variables 
that produces the disaster in a way that is sustainable, reduces 
vulnerability, and enables people at the household and community level 
to survive socially and economically.  In other words, how do you 
reconstruct and recover economically without re-installing the same 
system that generated the environmental degradation and extreme 
vulnerability in the first place. Reconstruction therefore becomes a 
test of the capacity of the system to respond to a clear demonstration 
that the major human and environmental destruction that takes place in 
the disaster is rooted in the changes enacted in the social and 
environmental setting that took place in the distant and probably not so 
distant past.

The dilemma lies in the fact that pre-disaster policies and practices 
of production are both the major forms of generating income and in many 
contexts directly linked to environmental degradation and increased 
vulnerability.  For example, from a perusal of the relevant documents, 
it was clear that the complex relationships between environmental, 
economic and social factors that led to the devastation of Hurricane 
Mitch in Honduras were both apprehended and appreciated by Hondurans and 
the international community.  However, the outcome of reconstruction 
plans were a set of policies and practices that addressed symptoms, even 
effectively in some cases, but did little to address causes, thus 
condemning themselves to repeat the exercise at some future point as 
both causes and symptoms evolve with attempts to address them.

If we view the death and destruction of Hurricane Mitch as due in part 
to economically and socially inscribed practices and the capital and 
commodity flows that created and sustained them both nationally and 
internationally, the capacity of the Honduran government to address the 
root causes of the disaster was limited.  For that matter, under current 
global economic structures, the capacity of any single society to 
address such root causes is open to question.

     In contemporary disasters perhaps our most important task is to 
discover and implement those aspects of reconstruction that feasibly 
within the limits of action permitted by existing structures can reduce 
both environmental degradation and vulnerability to hazards.  
Post-hurricane Honduras provided an important opportunity for economic 
forms and practices to be altered towards more sustainable forms of use, 
but little could be achieved toward that end.   However, whether the 
political and economic structures of the nation could, even with the 
necessity and the incentive of reconstruction, truly ever come to grips 
with a set of endemic conditions that are so deeply embedded by both 
national and international forces in their own forms and practices 
remains in doubt.

                                                                         
            Best to all,

                                                                         
                                                  Tony







-- 
Anthony Oliver-Smith
Professor Emeritus
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida

1739 NW 11th Road
Gainesville, FL 32605
tel.352-377-8359;Fax 352-392-6929
www.anthonyoliver-smith.net

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

November 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
February 2013


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager