Article Index

Winners and Losers: Some Thoughts about the Political Economy of Disaster

Authors
Joseph Scanlon
Issue
March 1988
Description
While it is obvious disasters are negative events causing injury and death, damage and destruction, macro-economic studies show little long-term economic effects from disaster. That is because disasters create both losers and winners and these balance out.

Women, Aging, and Post-Disaster Stress: Risk Factors

Authors
Graham A. Tobin, Jane C. Ollenburger
Issue
March 1999
Description
The goal of this research was to model the relationship between stress and natural disasters, with a view to explaining levels of stress among women. Following flooding in Iowa in 1993, two in-depth questionnaire surveys were administered, one to residents in high flood exposure areas, and another to the general population as a control. Results indicated that gender plays a significant role in interpreting stress responses to natural hazards, with women consistently exhibiting greater stress than men. However, it was evident that a complex web of factors influenced stress levels including marital status, structure of the family unit, age, socio-economic status, health, levels of social involvement, and degree of hazard experience. These findings suggest that more research should focus on determining structural constraints that exacerbate stress levels for women.

Women and Floods in Bangladesh

Authors
Habibul Haque Khondker
Issue
November 1996
Description
This paper examines the consequences of a flood disaster on rural women in northern Bangladesh. Based on fieldwork, it is argued that floods affect rural women more adversely than rural men. Floods destroy the household resources undermining the economic well-being of rural women. Researchers and authorities in charge of rehabilitation have not paid enough attention to the uneven impact of flood disasters on gender groups. Women are rarely involved in the decision-making process regarding disaster response. The lack of participation of women in particular and the local community in general in the planning and execution of counterdisaster plans insure that such issues are not noticed. Bureaucratic disaster respondents to be short term in its scope and fails to link disaster response and rehabilitation with development activities. Various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in rural Bangladesh seem to have closer ties with the local community and a better understanding of the linkage between rehabilitation and development. However, because of the limited scope of their operations and constraints of resources, the influence of these NGOs are not sustainable. The rural women cope on their own. The status quo ante is achieved, a continuation of impoverished existence which makes the vulnerable to the next flooding or other such disasters. Successful counterdisaster strategies need to take gender dimension into account and link crisis response and rehabilitation strategies to development initiatives. This would entail participation of women in counterdisaster plans and assuring the economic well-being of rural women.

Women and Housing Issues in Two U.S. Disasters: Hurricane Andrew and the Red River Valley Flood

Authors
Elaine Enarson
Issue
March 1999
Description
A-3\r\nMarch 1999, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 39-63\r\nTitle: Women and Housing Issues in Two U.S. Disasters: Hurricane Andrew and the Red River Valley Flood\r\nAuthor(s): Elaine Enarson\r\n

Writing Disaster: Autobiography as a Methodology in Disasters Research

Authors
Jacqueline Homan
Issue
August 2003
Description
Research in social science has increasingly moved towards emphasis on egalitarian relationships in the research process; attempting to explore and break down the traditional divide between “researcher” and “researched”. With this more reciprocal relationship comes acknowledgement of positionality, intersubjectivity and the need for the “researched” to gain a substantial voice in the research process. In this paper, autobiography is explored as a possible method through which those affected by disasters might be empowered within a research process that is traditionally replete with power imbalances. Such personal accounts of disaster, which draw upon the experiences of the author as the defining characteristic, are not recent developments in disasters research; this paper explores the roles of personal accounts through the letters of Pliny the Younger, as well as the key role of autobiographical data in Islamic environmental histories. The Mass-Observation Archive, held at the University of Sussex in the UK, is used as an example of the scope and limitations of this research method in contemporary disasters research. It is concluded that, in some contexts, autobiographical research has significant potential in enabling those exposed to disaster to have a greater input into the ways their perceptions are recorded, thereby allowing them to have ownership of the research process per se, as well as the practical response to it, for example culturally sensitive mitigation strategies.