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

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Volume 2

Catastrophes in Context

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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

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Disaster upon Disaster is written in an accessible language and admirably avoids most of the features of academic discourse … and humanitarian … that produce and maintain gaps between academic anthropologists and their applied colleagues. Readers are presented with a fairly wide range of theoretical approaches, and the authors make a number of concrete suggestions for improvements.” • Anthropology Book Forum

“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


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