"Disasters do not just happen" - The Anthropology of Disaster (2)
"Nothing Is Just", anthropologist Dustin M. Wax wrote in one of his first posts on Savage Minds: Filmmaking isn’t “just” making movies: Marriage isn’t “just” a marker of committment. Family isn’t “just” the people you are related to. Giving gifts isn’t “just” a form of exchange."
The same can be said about disasters like the Katrina hurricane. In the book "Catastrophe & Culture. The Anthropology of Disaster" (2002), Susanna M. Hoffman and Anthony Oliver-Smith stress cultural aspects of disasters, that disasters are embedded in cultural practices of societies. "Disasters do not just happen", they write in their introduction:
"Many societies in their native practices, before colonialisation, globalisation, and other interferences, had knowledge and strategies to deal with the nature of their physical platform, to the extent that a disaster, at least up to certain extremes, might not even constitute a "disaster" to them, but simply part of their lifeways and experience (Schneider 1957). For example, Sahelian nomads for centuries adapted to the periodic droughts of their region through interethnic cooperative linkages with sedentary farmers and by altering migration routes (Lovejoy and Baier 1976). In contemporary conditions, these strategies often have been disrupted by such things as governmental policies, economic development, population increase, or nation-state boundaries, such that maladaption, conditioned by the outer world, now hovers near (see McCabe, this volume)"
(quoted from page 8-9) (to be continued in later posts)
The Anthropology of Disaster - Anthropologists on Katrina