From Protection to Disaster Resilience

Authored by: Mark Duffield

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936

10.4324/9780203753422.ch2

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Abstract

This chapter explores the rise of disaster resilience. It charts how our understanding of disaster has shifted from modernist concerns to protect from external disaster events to present-day attempts to modulate internal social and economic processes that strengthen the resilience of affected populations. It is argued that resilience, reflecting its conversation with neoliberalism, has a double-truth structure. While disaster resilience advocates that aid beneficiaries should embrace future uncertainty, international aid managers are reducing their own exposure by retreating into gated aid-complexes. Where resilience is applied to international aid workers, rather than embrace risk, it focuses on narcissistic and subjective forms of care-of-the-self. Such psycho-social concerns are now an essential characteristic of the inner life of the bunker. In overcoming the growing distance between aid managers and the societies in which they work, various forms of remote management have emerged. The chapter concludes by suggesting the rise of cyber-humanitarianism, while widely seen as a solution to the crisis of ground-truth, has all the potential to deepen it.

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