Disaster and Dispossession in Southeast Asia and Beyond


Single Panel


Session 4
Thu 09:00-10:30 Room 3.02



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The many failing practices of post-disaster interventions around the globe have revealed systemic problems in disaster management and recovery processes. Post-disaster interventions (relocations, resettlement) are often, if not always, associated with dispossessions and displacement. Dispossession experienced by survivors of disasters takes different forms, often rooted in and conflated with long histories of pre-existing marginalization and subordination. It is also not uncommonly generated by market-driven post-disaster interventions and shaped by disaster capitalism. A promising debate about the epistemological growth of disasters and dispossessions is shedding light on a two-sided reality. On one hand, it shows how socially critical and interdisciplinary perspectives taking on the social dimensions of disasters are finding their space in the realm of research on disasters and processes of dispossession. On the other hand, it also reveals how issues of dispossessions, entailed with marginalization, post-colonialism, capitalism/neoliberalism, and power asymmetries are embedded and rising in the many different phases of disaster management. All of which comes with grave consequences, also relating to institutional, structural, and political problems, to say the least. In the end, disasters and dispossession might be the very antithesis of sustainable development.

This panel aims at bringing together two notions: the emergence of contemporary research on dispossessions; and the critical question of what would be needed to mainstream such issues in practice. The Southeast Asia region is fertile ground for these related but often separate notions. As part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, communities in Southeast Asia have simultaneously experienced disasters after both natural and man-made hazards, compounded by displacement, eviction, and violence. The panel invites current researchers of disasters and dispossessions, towards advocating the urgency of addressing the issues of dispossessions, and at the same time to mainstream grounded empirical findings from the varied disaster risk conventions. It is critical that the way disaster risk management is traditionally articulated shifts, in a reflection of issues of dispossessions related to disasters and climate change. This panel resume would therefore be particularly relevant in relation to the recent Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, Bali 2022, the upcoming G20 meeting in 2022 as part of the global discourse on sustainable development, as well as a reflection on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.