The Philippine Sociological Society, Center for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance (Canberra) and the Development Studies Program (Ateneo) co-hosted a three-hour workshop on the theory and practice of sociological disaster studies last Friday, 4 March.
More than fifty participants from the academe, government and NGOs attended the workshop including students and faculty from the University of the Philippines-Los Banos, Ateneo de Davao University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Urban Poor Resource Center, and National Poverty Commission.
The abstracts and slides of presentations are available below.
The aim of the workshop is to initiate a series of conversations between academics and practitioners about the ways in which the study of disasters in the Philippines can be further enriched through theorizing and linking research to policy.
Parties or organizations interested to host the next workshop may get in touch with Nicole.Curato@canberra.edu.au
Constructing Reconstruction: Governmentality in post-Haiyan “risk-prone” areas in Tacloban City
Dakila P. Yee, University of the Philippines-Tacloban
This paper analyzes the process of reconstruction in post-Haiyan Tacloban, Leyte using the analytical framework of governmentality. The utility of governmentality in analyzing planning processes in post-disaster scenarios is assessed in relation to the question of how post-disaster reconstruction is rendered calculable and governable. Specifically, this research examines how zoning practices such as the incorporation of a 40-meter “no-build zone” constitutes a domain that renders populations living within these zones as governable and how the process of subject construction is constituted within these areas.
The research is a case-study of the urban reconstruction process in Tacloban, specifically their project to relocate 14,000 families living in these “at-risk” coastal zones all over the city. Data for this research was collected through semi-structured interviews, content analysis of policy documents from different government agencies engaged in the reconstruction process and participant observation of activities related to this project (i.e. government forums, community meetings, etc.).
Initial results from the study reveal that the rationality of ecomodernization, neoliberal subjectivity and aesthetics structures the policy plans for the reconstruction of the city. Technologies deployed in creating a domain of government are based on survey techniques and geohazard mapping, rendering the risk-prone areas visible and calculable. While rationalities associated with neoliberalism remain prevalent in post-disaster reconstruction (as argued by the disaster capitalism literature), empirical research from the ground also reveal multiple rationalities that structure the process. This signifies the utility of the governmentality framework in examining post-disaster reconstruction in other cities in the Philippines and in analyzing city planning processes in general.
Like a Kite Flying in a Hurricane: Democracy in the age of misery
Nicole Curato, University of Canberra
The presentation provides an overview of a book project that examines the character of democracy in the age of misery. It investigates the spaces for political participation, discursive representation and deliberative action in an era marked by both tyranny of emergency and predominance of human misery. It draws on the empirical case of three communities in Tacloban, Leyte that are “at-risk” of displacement and dispossession in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan. The paper argues, albeit tentatively, that while democracy is faced with the distinct challenges of technocratic authoritarianism, disaster capitalism and widespread suffering, there remains pockets of resistance and creative contestation which can recalibrate power relations amidst vulnerable social conditions.
Social Capital and Facebook Use of Tacloban City After Super Typhoon Haiyan
Arla E. Fontamillas, Victoria University of Wellington
This case study examines the extent to which social media can help build and strengthen the social capital of communities in the face of natural disasters. It investigates Tacloban City, an area hit hardest by Super Typhoon Haiyan on 08 November 2013. Separate interviews and focus group discussions among selected residents of two coastal communities (Barangays 89 and 48-B), selected members of two local NGOs (Community & Family Services International and Operation Blessing – Visayas), and three members of the city government (vice-mayor, urban and environmental consultant, and city councillor) revealed that Facebook extended the geography of the social capital of Tacloban City after Haiyan. It allowed the survivors to inform their families and relatives, who are residing in different countries, of their condition and consequently receive money and goods from them.
However, as a mediated form of communication, Facebook was limited in addressing the socio-political realities of Tacloban City, which was marked by widespread mistrust and uncertainty. Paradoxically, Facebook has amplified the structural inequalities already present in Tacloban City before it was hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan. While it enhanced strong ties, it has failed to forge weaker ties. As a result, it has instead widened the gap between those who have more power over the access to resources and those who have less.
Assessing the implementation of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in Cadiz and Roxas cities*
Anna Mae Dela Cruz, Ateneo de Manila University
This study aims to help Tearfund engage local government units of Roxas City, Capiz and Cadiz City, Negros Occidental more effectively by providing evidence that demonstrates the impetus for change and offering practical guidance with regards to disaster risk management. In particular, the study will:
- Identify gaps in the implementation of Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 at the local level;
- Identify major barriers and, thus, strategic directions for better implementation; and
- Offer practices that, based on subject matter experts and other local chief executives, could lead to more successful efforts.
The study is thus divided into 3 phases having these three objectives. Each phase builds on the previous one—taking the focal points identified by the previous and providing further guidance on these points.
*Presentation available upon request