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Disaster Upon Disaster: Exploring the Gap Between Knowledge, Policy and Practice

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Volume 2

Catastrophes in Context

Of Related Interest

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Disaster Upon Disaster

Exploring the Gap Between Knowledge, Policy and Practice

Edited by Susanna M. Hoffman and Roberto E. Barrios

354 pages, 5 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-345-5 $149.00/£110.00 Hb Published (October 2019)

ISBN  978-1-78920-648-7 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (October 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-346-2 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This book took me on a journey that I must admit was not always comfortable. It challenged me to think more locally… I might not agree with it in every way, but It did what every good academic volume should it made me think more deeply. Thanks to those who were involved in making it.” Recovery Diva Blog

“The contributors, individually and collectively, do not merely point to or describe the gaps between knowledge, policy, and practice—they build sturdy bridges across them… I highly recommend this book”. • A.J. Faas, San Jose State University

“An important contribution to the applied anthropological research on disasters, for it brings together experiences and reflections of various key players in the field—anthropologists, practitioners (e.g. local and international NGO leaders, officials of various functions, and freelance consultants), and other constituents.” • Qiaoyun Zhang, Shanghai University


A consistent problem that confronts disaster reduction is the disjunction between academic and expert knowledge and policies and practices of agencies mandated to deal with the concern. Although a great deal of knowledge has been acquired regarding many aspects of disasters, such as driving factors, risk construction, complexity of resettlement, and importance of peoples’ culture, very little has become protocol and procedure. Disaster Upon Disaster illuminates the numerous disjunctions between the suppositions, realities, agendas, and executions in the field, goes on to detail contingencies, predicaments, old and new plights, and finally advances solutions toward greatly improved outcomes.

Susanna M. Hoffman is author, co-author, and editor of twelve books, including The Angry Earth 1 & 2 and Catastrophe and Culture, two ethnographic films, and over forty articles. She initiated the Risk and Disaster Thematic Interest Group at the Society for Applied Anthropology, is the founder and chair of the Risk and Disaster Commission for the International Union of Anthropology and Ethnographic Sciences, and was the first recipient of the Aegean Initiative Fulbright concerning the Greek and Turkish earthquakes.

Roberto E. Barrios is Professor of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. During the last twenty years, he has conducted ethnographies of disaster recovery in Honduras, Mexico, New Orleans, Houston, and Southern Illinois. His work focuses on the inherent assumptions about the nature of communities and people embedded in disaster recovery policy, and how disaster survivors interpret, reconfigure, and sometimes resist these assumptions. He is author of Governing Affect: Neoliberalism and Disaster Reconstruction and has published various articles in the journals Disasters, Annual Review of Anthropology, Identities, and Human Organization.

Subject: Environmental Studies (General) Anthropology (General) Applied Anthropology


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Defining Disaster Upon Disaster: Why Risk Prevention and Disaster Response So Often Fail
Susanna M. Hoffman


Chapter 1. Unwieldy Disasters: Engaging the Multiple Gaps and Connections That Make Catastrophes
Roberto E. Barrios

Chapter 2. Advocacy and Accomplishment: Contrasting Challenges to Successful Disaster Risk Management
Terry Jeggle

Chapter 3. Natural Hazard Events into Disasters: The Gap between Knowledge, Policy, and Practice as it Affects the Built Environment
Stephen Bender

Chapter 4. Humanitarian Response:  Ideals Meet Reality
Adam Koons

Chapter 5. Disaster Theory Versus Practice? It’s a Long Rocky Road - A Practitioner’s View from the Ground
Jane Murphy Thomas


Chapter 6. Slow On-Set Disaster: Climate Change and the Gaps Between Knowledge, Policy, and Practice
Shirley J. Fiske and Elizabeth Marino

Chapter 7. Disrupting Gendered Outcomes: Addressing Disaster Vulnerability Through Stakeholder Participation
Brenda D. Phillips

Chapter 8. Resettlement for Disaster Risk Reduction: Global Knowledge, Local Application
Anthony Oliver-Smith

Chapter 9. From Nuclear Things to Things Nuclear: Minding the Gap at the Knowledge-Policy-Practice Nexus in Post-Fallout Fukushima
Ryo Morimoto

Chapter 10.  “Haitians Need to be Patient” - Notes on Policy Advocacy in Washington Following Haiti’s Earthquake
Mark Schuller


Chapter 11. The Scope and Importance of Anthropology and its Core Concept of Culture in Closing the Risk and Disaster Knowledge to Policy and Practice Gap
Susanna M. Hoffman

Chapter 12. Engaged: Applying the Anthropology of Disaster to Practitioner Settings and Policy Creation
Katherine E. Browne, Elizabeth Marino, Heather Lazrus, and Keely Maxwell

Chapter 13. Future Matter Matters: Disasters as a (Potential) Vehicle for Social Change. It’s About Time
Ann Bergman


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