Disasters Without Borders

Disasters Without Borders : The International Politics of Natural Disasters

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Dramatic scenes of devastation and suffering caused by disasters such as the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, are viewed with shock and horror by millions of us across the world. What we rarely see, however, are the international politics of disaster aid, mitigation and prevention that condition the collective response to natural catastrophes around the world. In this book, respected Canadian environmental sociologist John Hannigan argues that the global community of nations has failed time and again in establishing an effective and binding multilateral mechanism for coping with disasters, especially in the more vulnerable countries of the South. Written in an accessible and even-handed manner, Disasters without Borders it is the first comprehensive account of the key milestones, debates, controversies and research relating to the international politics of natural disasters. Tracing the historical evolution of this policy field from its humanitarian origins in WWI right up to current efforts to cast climate change as the prime global driver of disaster risk, it highlights the ongoing mismatch between the way disaster has been conceptualised and the institutional architecture in place to manage it. The book s bold conclusion predicts the confluence of four emerging trends - politicisation/militarisation, catastrophic scenario building, privatisation of risk, and quantification, which could create a new system of disaster management wherein 'insurance logic' will replace humanitarian concern as the guiding principle. Disasters Without Borders is an ideal introductory text for students, lecturers and practitioners in the fields of international development studies, disaster management, politics and international affairs, and environmental geography/sociology.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 150 x 228 x 18mm | 322.05g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0745650694
  • 9780745650692
  • 942,290

About John Hannigan

John Hannigan is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto.show more

Review quote

It has been a while since I have read a book in one sitting. Disasters Without Borders hit that mark. This fluent, critical and accessible book, provides a wealth of detail and insight into the political and social pressures that shape discourse, international organisation and policy for disaster management. A strongly recommended text for students of humanitarianism, disaster risk management and international development policy, and a wake-up call for practitioners. Mark Pelling, King's College London This volume highlights the interplay of normative, political and institutional factors steering how we conceptualise and respond to disasters. As such it provides readers with an understanding of how actors at different levels actually make sense of disasters, a perspective that is rarely explored in the current literature Ian Christoplos, Danish Institute for International Studiesshow more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments vi Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms viii Text Boxes x Introduction 1 1 The Disaster Politics Nexus 6 2 The Global Policy Field of Natural Disasters 18 3 The Kindness of Strangers 42 4 A Safer World? 59 5 Climate of Concern 78 6 Disaster Politics as Game Playing 97 7 Mass Media and the Politics of Disaster 115 8 Disaster Politics: A Discursive Approach 130 9 Conclusion 146 Notes 159 References 167 Index 188show more

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