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Contextualizing Disaster

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Volume 1

Catastrophes in Context

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Contextualizing Disaster

Edited by Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller

Full Text PDF Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from Knowledge Unlatched.

214 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-280-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78533-319-4 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (September 2016)

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Contextualizing Disaster, edited by Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller, makes a significant contribution to a better understanding of the social construction of disasters by contextualizing them in novel and diverse ways… The eight book chapters offer new and innovative analysis of recent disasters that to varying degrees are all translocal, and each chapter is carried by its own “narrative.”… The book is providing fresh impetus not only for disaster scholars but also for DRR institutions and media.” • Anthropos

“This book presents a vivid picture of extreme events and how different parties involved in the recovery process contextualize them.” • Arthur D. Murphy, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

“This book will be read and read again. I intend to use it in my course, 'Disaster, Self, and Society,' and I suspect others, both sociologists and anthropologists, will assign it to their respective classes. Moreover, it will be read by scholars, enriching their understanding of mayhem. Well done.” • Steve Kroll-Smith, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Contextualizing Disaster offers a comparative analysis of six recent "highly visible" disasters and several slow-burning, "hidden," crises that include typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, chemical spills, and the unfolding consequences of rising seas and climate change. The book argues that, while disasters are increasingly represented by the media as unique, exceptional, newsworthy events, it is a mistake to think of disasters as isolated or discrete occurrences. Rather, building on insights developed by political ecologists, this book makes a compelling argument for understanding disasters as transnational and global phenomena.

Gregory V. Button is an internationally recognized disaster researcher and a former faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, as well as a former faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he was Co-Director of the Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights. A Former U.S Senate Congressional Fellow he has published dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters. His work has been featured in many major media outlets. He is a regular contributor to public radio stations and a frequent writer for Counterpunch.

Mark Schuller is Associate Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership and Development at Northern Illinois University and affiliate at the State University of Haiti. Supported by the National Science Foundation Senior and CAREER Grant, Bellagio Center, and others, Schuller’s research is published in thirty scholarly articles. He authored or co-edited seven books and co-directed/co-produced documentary Poto Mitan. Recipient of the Margaret Mead Award, he has a column in Huffington Post and is active as a board member and solidarity activist.

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

Contextualizing Disaster Edited by Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from Knowledge Unlatched.

Full Text PDF

OA ISBN: 978-1-78920-477-3


Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller

Chapter 1. A Poison Runs Through It: The Elk River Chemical Spill in West Virginia
Gregory V. Button and Erin R. Eldridge

Chapter 2. Whethering the Storm: The Twin Natures of Typhoons Haiyan and Yolanda
Greg Bankoff and George Emmanuel Borrinaga

Chapter 3. “The Tremors Felt Round the World”: Haiti’s Earthquake as Global Imagined Community
Mark Schuller

Chapter 4. Contested Narratives: Challenging the State’s Neoliberal Authority in the Aftermath of the Chilean Earthquake
Nia Parson

Chapter 5. Decentralizing Disasters: Civic Engagement and Stalled Reconstruction after Japan’s 3/11
Bridget Love

Chapter 6. Expert Knowledge and the Ethnography of Disaster Reconstruction
Roberto E. Barrios

Chapter 7. “We Are Always Getting Ready”: How Diverse Notions of Time and Flexibility Build Adaptive Capacity in Alaska and Tuvalu
Elizabeth Marino and Heather Lazrus

Chapter 8. Tempests, Green Teas, and the Right to Relocate: The Political Ecology of Superstorm Sandy
Melissa Checker


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I would like to recommend Contextualizing Disaster for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

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