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Redistributing Vulnerabilities: House Reconstruction Following the 2006 Central Java Earthquake

Redistributing Vulnerabilities: House Reconstruction Following the 2006 Central Java Earthquake


Jens Seeberg, Retna Siwi Padmawati


Abstract


It is widely accepted that it is the social distribution of vulnerability in a given society that may turn hazardous events into disasters. This distributional approach draws attention to continuities that explain catastrophes by virtue of the workings of society prior to the event. Theoretically, this approaches paradoxical: the explanatory power of the social distribution of vulnerability prior to disaster decreases as the scale of the disaster increases since large-scale disasters tend to be more equitably distributed. We seek to address this paradox by way of an analysis of the social processes whereby vulnerability is modified and renegotiated during the post-disaster period where resources for disaster alleviation and reconstruction enter local communities. Introducing a concept of hybrid kinds, we explore relations between citizens and the state during post-earthquake house reconstruction. Rather than disaster only following pre-existing fault lines of vulnerability, the social process of re-distribution of vulnerability continues in the post-disaster scenario.

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