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Blurred Boundaries, Shared Practices: Disaster Studies as an Emerging Discipline and Disaster Management as a Field of Practice

  • Janki AndhariaEmail author
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Part of the Disaster Studies and Management book series (DSDM)

Abstract

Concepts and vocabularies used to represent objects and processes are socially constructed by human beings and vary from one society (or culture) to another. “Scientific” accounts of disasters are produced by observers with differing degrees of educational training, research experience, perceptual capacities and ideational frameworks. Understanding how these varying cognitive elements interact to discursively shape that which we come to take as knowledge is the goal of post-positivism and transdisciplinarity is a strong invocation that moves in that direction and beyond. This chapter reviews the diversity of definitions of disaster, the way they are classified and traces the epistemological history of the definitions that shape the emerging discipline of disaster studies. It discusses the blurred boundaries between disaster studies as an emerging discipline and the practice of disaster management. Reflecting on disaster management as a profession, it critiques managerialism and its consequences. The final section engages critically with the notion of humanitarianism, closely linked with the idea of disaster management. Although conventionally regarded as a noble enterprise, humanitarianism is not unproblematic and is in fact, riddled with dilemmas and challenges.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tata Institute of Social SciencesMumbaiIndia

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