Knowledge, networks, diversity and context: earthquake and Tsunami disaster risk reduction in Western Sumatra
Shannon, Rachel Judith
PublisherUniversity of Ulster
MetadataShow full item record
Global processes, such as the increasingly global flows of people, goods and information and the rising number of international regulatory institutions and agreements, drive contemporary political, economic, social and cultural change and interact with local contexts to influence local livelihoods, culture, politics and social organisation. The fusion of local and global processes is increasingly acknowledged in natural hazards research. This thesis contributes to this research by identifying and demonstrating the relevance of four aspects of globalisation on the development of and response to natural science-led Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in western Sumatra. These aspects include new networks of social learning, the social dimensions of natural science's policy role, cultural mixing and diversity, and the vulnerability and resilience of transnational communities. The thesis is based on two phases of fieldwork conducted in the cities of Padang and Bengkulu in 2008 and 2010. Using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods, the fieldwork examined the perspectives and relationships between international geoscientists, humanitarian workers, local Non-Governmental Organisations and community members engaged in DRR and development in these cities. The thesis has four key findings. First, it highlights how social learning and boundary work within earthquake governance plays a key role in the development of DRR, and draws attention to the formal and informal spaces that facilitate this process. Second, it sheds light on the importance of social context and normative values in the uptake of western geoscience for effective DRR. Third, it provides insight into the hybrid and plural ways local people make sense of and respond to earthquake and tsunami hazard. Fourth, it demonstrates how the transnational features of the Chinese community in Padang can bring opportunities for resilience and also increase vulnerability to natural hazards. To conclude, the thesis reflects on how this research contributes to the literature on globalisation and natural hazards DRR. The wider implications of this research are discussed with emphasis given to the normative and contextual features of natural sciences policy role and the importance of social learning between diverse communities for effective DRR.