Disasters Without Borders: The International Politics of Natural Disasters
October 2012, Polity
Written in an accessible and even-handed manner, Disasters without Borders it is the first comprehensive account of the key milestones, debates, controversies and research relating to the international politics of natural disasters. Tracing the historical evolution of this policy field from its humanitarian origins in WWI right up to current efforts to cast climate change as the prime global driver of disaster risk, it highlights the ongoing mismatch between the way disaster has been conceptualised and the institutional architecture in place to manage it. The book’s bold conclusion predicts the confluence of four emerging trends - politicisation/militarisation, catastrophic scenario building, privatisation of risk, and quantification, which could create a new system of disaster management wherein 'insurance logic' will replace humanitarian concern as the guiding principle.
Disasters Without Borders is an ideal introductory text for students, lecturers and practitioners in the fields of international development studies, disaster management, politics and international affairs, and environmental geography/sociology.
Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms viii
Text Boxes x
1 The Disaster Politics Nexus 6
2 The Global Policy Field of Natural Disasters 18
3 The Kindness of Strangers 42
4 A Safer World? 59
5 Climate of Concern 78
6 Disaster Politics as Game Playing 97
7 Mass Media and the Politics of Disaster 115
8 Disaster Politics: A Discursive Approach 130
9 Conclusion 146
- Natural disasters regularly reach a high degree of prominence in the media, but we rarely see the political aspects of the ways that disasters are managed and dealt with.
- This book offers a comprehensive survey of the political history of disaster management, from World War I onwards.
- It also predicts new political trends and tendencies that will shape the way that disasters are understood in the future
- This engaging guide will become increasingly crucial for anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary international and environmental politics
"An enjoyable, easily accessible read."
"This fluent, critical and accessible book provides a wealth of detail and insight into the political and social pressures that shape discourse, international organization and policy for disaster management. A strongly recommended text for students of humanitarianism, disaster risk management, and international development policy, and a wake-up call for practitioners."
Mark Pelling, King’s College London
"This volume highlights the interplay of normative, political, and institutional factors steering how we conceptualize and respond to disasters. As such it provides readers with an understanding of how actors at different levels actually make sense of disasters, a perspective that is rarely explored in the current literature."
Ian Christoplos, Danish Institute for International Studies