1st Edition

Learning and Calamities Practices, Interpretations, Patterns

Edited By Heike Egner, Marén Schorch, Martin Voss Copyright 2015
    334 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    334 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    It is widely assumed that humanity should be able to learn from calamities (e.g., emergencies, disasters, catastrophes) and that the affected individuals, groups, and enterprises, as well as the concerned (disaster-) management organizations and institutions for prevention and mitigation, will be able to be better prepared or more efficient next time. Furthermore, it is often assumed that the results of these learning processes are preserved as "knowledge" in the collective memory of a society, and that patterns of practices were adopted on this base. Within history, there is more evidence for the opposite: Analyzing past calamities reveals that there is hardly any learning and, if so, that it rarely lasts more than one or two generations. This book explores whether learning in the context of calamities happens at all, and if learning takes place, under which conditions it can be achieved and what would be required to ensure that learned cognitive and practical knowledge will endure on a societal level. The contributions of this book include various fields of scientific research: history, sociology, geography, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, development studies and political studies, as well as disaster research and disaster risk reduction research.

    Foreword  Kathleen Tierney.  Acknowledgments.  1. Introduction: Can Societies Learn from Calamities?  Heike Egner, Marén Schorch, and Martin Voss  Part I: Opening the Fields of Learning and Calamities  2. Learning from Disasters in an Unsafe World: Considerations from a Psychoanalytical Ethnological Perspective  Bernd Rieken  3. Learning About Disasters from Animals  Greg Bankoff  4. Beyond Experiential Learning in Disaster and Development Communication  Andrew E. Collins  Part II: Learning from History?  5. "The Monster Swallows You": Disaster Memory and Risk Culture in Western Europe, 1500-2000  Christian Pfister  6. A Disaster in Slow Motion: The Smoke Menace in Urban-Industrial Britain  Stephen Mosley  7. Historia Magistra Vitae, as the Saying Goes: Why Societies Do Not Necessarily Learn from Past Disasters  Uwe Lübken  Part III: Educational Concepts for Disaster Preparedness  8. Using a Spare-Time University for Disaster Risk Reduction Education  Ilan Kelman, Marla Petal, and Michael H. Glantz  9. Communicating Actionable Risk: The Challenge of Communicating Risk to Motivate Preparedness in the Absence of Calamity  Michele M. Wood  10. Critical Reflection on Disaster Prevention Education  Marla Petal  Part IV: Organizational Patterns of Interpretation and Practices of Learning  11. Normalization and its Discontents: Organizational Learning from Disaster  Sven Kette and Hendrik Vollmer  12. Analyses of Natural Disasters and Their Contribution to Changes in Natural Hazard Management in Switzerland  Michael Bründl  13. How Not to Learn: Resilience in the Study of Disaster  Benigno A. Aguirre and Eric Best  Part V: Societal Patterns of Interpretation and Practices of Learning  14. When Push Comes to Shove: The Framing of Need in Disaster Relief Efforts  Tricia Wachtendorf, Samantha Penta, and Mary M. Nelan  15. Reduced Learning Processes Due to Biopolitical Patterns of Interpretation: Michel Foucault and the Contamination Disaster  Matthias Hofmann  16. Science versus Metaphysics. The Importance of Everyday Life Experience for the Interpretation of Disaster  Elísio Macamo and Dieter Neubert  Part VI: Closing  17. Learning and Calamities—What Have We Learned?: Steps Towards an Integrative Framework  Heike Egner and Marén Schorch


    Heike Egner is Professor of Geography and Regional Studies at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt (Austria).

    Marén Schorch is a Research Assistant at the University of Siegen (Germany).

    Martin Voss is head of the Disaster Research Unit at Freie Universität Berlin (Germany).