Monday October 22, 10-12 am, B 600

This study problematises the idea that people who live in societies in strain develop social resilience to hardships through processes of adaptation. Questioning such presumptions about social behaviour and direct causes, the inquiry focuses on those social, cultural and political processes that put people at risk for disaster in the first place. This is carried out by exploring the social, political and material webs through which people make meaning out of past experiences of disaster. The research is ethnographically situated in Santa Fe City in the northeast of Argentina, located in between the Paraná and Salado rivers, where translocal and transtemporal ethnographic fieldwork has been conducted between the years 2004-2011. Here, disastrous flooding has been a recurrent problem since the time of the city's foundation in colonial times. The flood that occurred in 2003 is deemed to be the worst of them all however. By analysing how past floods are collectively remembered and forgotten in different social and organizational settings, it is argued that these social processes configure a specific flood memoryscape. This is produced through the reproduction and articulation of different social memories as well as of forgotten events, of which some are more dominant than others. It is concluded that the flood memoryscape in Santa Fe has contributed to a normalised understanding of disastrous flooding among urban residents and in bureaucratic organisations, hence, reproducing social vulnerability more than producing resilience.
If you are interested, please contact Susann Ullberg who will provide you with the seminar paper.

Research seminars autumn 2012.