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Sustainability Action

Interplay between Collective Action, Individual Strategies and State Intervention in Mitigating Natural Hazards and Recovering from Disasters: Lessons from Thailand and Vietnam Event

18 November 2013
Building 44 Room 2103 (Lecture Theatre C) Highfield Campus

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Event details

This is part of the Geography and Environment research seminar programme.

Drawing on interdisciplinary studies in flood-affected upland areas of Thailand and Vietnam and in tsunami-affected coastal regions of southern Thailand, this presentation will explore the complex interplay between collective, state and individual responses to natural hazards and subsequent mitigation strategies. In the Thai upland case study, where community-based water management has remained largely unaffected by state influence, collective flood mitigation efforts were partially compromised by farm households’ livelihood strategies. The case study from upland Vietnam shows that state intervention in formerly community-based water management has alienated farmers from water governance and reduced their sense of personal and collective responsibility. In addition, individual risk diversification strategies proved effective at the household level, thus reducing villagers’ willingness to engage in collective action towards disaster mitigation. The case study from southern Thailand discusses the effectiveness and social impacts of state-led and donor-supported rehabilitation and recovery following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. I conclude that disaster mitigation and adaptation policies need to pay more attention to (1) local people’s own causal explanations of disastrous events and (2) the potential trade-offs between collective action, state intervention and individual livelihood strategies.

Presentation by Prof. Andreas Neef, Chair of Resource Governance and Participatory Development, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan.

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