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Disasters and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness

Disasters and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness

Manuel Tironi (Editor), Israel Rodríguez-Giralt (Editor), Michael Guggenheim (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-53139-6

Apr 2014, Wiley-Blackwell

260 pages

Select type: Paperback


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Winner of the 2014 Amsterdamska Award by the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology!

Arguing that disasters configure the political in new ways, this collection provides a truly international insight into how they can help us to understand the materiality and the pragmatics of politics. As events of radical disruption, disasters can also lead to a re-evaluation of the very definition of the political itself. In exploring these issues, the collection brings together disaster studies, with political theory and science and technology studies, to stimulate a more robust conversation between disciplines and feed into broader sociological debates.

  • Takes an innovative approach to the relationship between disasters and the nature, composition, and effects of the political
  • Leading experts scrutinize how events of radical disruption enable a re-evaluation and redefinition of the political, and the tools and processes through which this happens
  • Comparative case studies give an unrivalled geographic scope, covering Australia, Europe, South America, and the United Kingdom and United States
  • Brings together disaster studies, political theory, and science and technology studies to stimulate broader sociological debate
  • Combines empirical and theoretical approaches to provide an essential teaching resource for graduate and postgraduate students and to open up this dynamic field for mainstream sociology researchers and academics



Introduction: disasters as politics – politics as disasters (Michael Guggenheim)

Section 1: Materials: Ontologies

1. Geo-politics and the disaster of the Anthropocene (Nigel Clark)

2. Disasters as meshworks: Migratory birds and the enlivening of Doñana’s toxic spill (Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Francisco Tirado and Manuel Tironi)

3. Misrecognizing tsunamis: ontological politics and cosmopolitical challenges in early warning systems (Ignacio Farías)

Section 2: Experiments: Governance

4. Producing space, tracing authority: mapping the 2007 San Diego wildfires (Katrina Petersen)

5. Atmospheres of indagation: disasters and the politics of excessiveness (Manuel Tironi)

6. Technologies of recovery: plans, practices and entangled politics in disaster (Lucy Easthope and Maggie Mort)

Section 3: Preparedness: Anticipation

7. Creating a secure network: the 2001 anthrax attacks and the transformation of postal security (Ryan Ellis)

8. Concrete governmentality: shelters and the transformations of preparedness (Joe Deville, Michael Guggenheim and Zuzana Hrdlièková)

9. Anticipating oil: the temporal politics of a disaster yet to come (Gisa Weszkalnys)

10. Afterword: on the topologies and temporalities of disaster (Mike Michael)

Notes on contributors