From Emergency Management to Managing Emergence: A Genealogy of Disaster Management in Jamaica.

Kevin Jon Grove

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58 Citations (SciVal)


The common narrative in disaster studies positions the field’s paradigm shift from postevent response to preevent mitigation as a progressive development in knowledge on how to reduce disasters’ impacts on public safety, human welfare, and development. Although the incorporation of participatory methods and vulnerability analysis has undoubtedly made valuable contributions to reducing human suffering, these techniques continue the biopolitics of disaster management that early critiques of hazards studies identified three decades ago. This article adopts an analytics of assemblage to analyze the topological transformations in disaster management that sustain its will to truth even as the elements comprising disaster management—for example, bodies, institutions, techniques, strategies, and rationalities—are reconfigured into assemblages of disaster mitigation. Through a genealogy of Jamaican disaster management, I show how participatory and mitigation techniques were deterritorialized from marginalized experiences of disaster and reterritorialized into mitigation policies through the confluence of local disaster events and the global emergence of sustainable development and resilience theory. Rather than offering new forms of empowerment and security from unpredictable change, institutionalized disaster mitigation articulates disaster preparedness with sustainability’s calculative foresight and resilience theory’s visions of life as an emergent socioecological system to extend logistical orderings of life to the everyday socioecological metabolisms that make up daily existence. Institutionalized mitigation enacts a new series of power relations through an immunitary logic that problematizes adaptability as the source of, and solution to, the threat that disasters pose to neoliberal order.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Early online date19 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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