Learning and Calamities
Practices, Interpretations, Patterns
Edited by Heike Egner, Marén Schorch, Martin Voss
Routledge – 2014 – 256 pages
Routledge – 2014 – 256 pages
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.
I Learning and Interpretative Patterns in Disasters and Catastrophes
1. Catastrophes as a Collapse of Symbolic Order. Scientific Theoretical Concepts and Social Practices of Learning from Calamities
2. Beyond Experiential Learning in Disaster and Development Communication
II Learning from History?
3. "The Monster Swallows You": Disaster Memory and Risk Culture in Western Europe, 1500-2000
4. A Disaster in Slow Motion. The Case of Smoke Pollution in Industrial Britain
5. Learning about Disasters from Animals
6. Historia Magistra Vitae, or So They Say: Why Societies do not Necessarily Learn from Past Disasters
III Institutional Patterns of Interpretation and Practices of Learning
7. Normalization and Its Discontents. Organizational Learning from Disaster
8. High Reliability Organizations and Networks
9. Analysis of Catastrophic Natural Hazard Events and their Contribution to Changes in Natural Hazard Management in Switzerland
10. Michel Foucault and Contamination Disaster: Biopolitical Patterns of Interpretation of Institutional Actors after Technical Accidents with Contaminations
IV Societal Patterns of Interpretation and Practices of Learning
11. When Push Comes to Shove: The Framing of Need in Disaster Relief Efforts
12. Science Versus Metaphysics: The Importance of Everyday Life Experience for the Interpretation of Disaster
13. Kearifan Lokal and the 2010 Mt. Merapi Eruption: Merging Communitiy-based Disaster Communication Practices with Scientific Knowledge toward Minimizing Disaster Risk
14. Learning from Calamities: What Did We Learn?