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Cultures of preparedness: imagining and enacting disasters to come. A brief ethnography.

Linnell, Mikael, 1976- (författare)
Mittuniversitetet, Avdelningen för samhällsvetenskap
Mittuniversitetet Fakulteten för humanvetenskap. Avdelningen för samhällsvetenskap. (creator_code:org_t)
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract Ämnesord
  • <p data-reactid=".1dcijmomneo.$presentation.$abstract">Knowledge about, and preparedness for, possible future disasters are created through various techniques. Via simulation of imagined events, not yet substantialised disasters can be rendered physically and cognitively accessible as objects of knowledge. Simulations can be theoretical and immaterial, created by way of computer programs, or they can be enacted as material full scale exercises, complete with a backdrop of the complex and disordered reality, and all the sensorial experiences associated with it. In either case, simulation is employed as a technique for reducing uncertainty about possible future harm. Simulation thus allows for imagining potential futures in order to manage their consequences (Lentzos and Rose 2009:236). The aim of this paper is to critically investigate the “doing” of preparedness, by way of practically engaging with the physical world, in two geographically and culturally very different contexts. In Tokyo, Japan, citizens awaiting “the big one” are requested to practice earthquake preparedness in government sponsored earthquake prevention centres, whereas in Tafjord, Norway, visitors of the local rockslide centre can “design their own rockslide” as a playful way of practicing their disaster imagination. The question posed in this paper concerns how possible future disasters are imagined, represented, and socially enacted in order to enhance individual and collective preparedness supposed to last for decades. A common feature to the two empirical sites is the fact that, sooner or later, they will be destroyed. Consequently, the challenge is to produce a culture of preparedness durable for an unspecified range of time and conveyed over generations.


SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP  -- Sociologi (hsv//swe)
SOCIAL SCIENCES  -- Sociology (hsv//eng)

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