Confronting the Naturalness of Disaster in the Pacific

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    This introduction sets out some of the key themes addressed by the papers in the special issue on 'Confronting the Naturalness of Disaster in the Pacific'. Disasters are now widely understood not as 'natural' phenomena but as events or processes that unfold at the intersection between natural or artificial hazards and human populations. We review some of the effects of the naturalisation of disaster before turning to the ways in which Pacific disasters are defined through government, media and public discourses. These discourses feature their own distinctive accounts of possible forms of agency in the context of disaster, and draw on markedly different frames of reference in attributing cause and blame. Similarly, contrasting temporalities and spatialities are invoked in addressing disasters as bounded phenomena. We conclude with reflections on the nature of responses to disaster in the Pacific in the context of increasingly unstable cultural, economic and environmental grounds for action induced by global climate change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    JournalAnthropological Forum
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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