Educational hazards? The politics of disaster risk education in Rio de Janeiro

Robert Coates*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Outcomes of disaster education are highly dependent on the political context of that education. Based on a rich, in‐depth, case study of the creation of community monitors in a landslide and flood‐prone city in southeast Brazil, I demonstrate how political and developmental contexts add much additional nuance to existing theories of behaviourist and transformative education for preparedness and mitigation. Beyond identifying education's benefits, I argue that risk reduction outcomes are dependent on governance contexts that move over time. I demonstrate political complexity in the programme's implementation and cite the perspectives of a number of participants. Disaster education is shown to be the necessary yet underappreciated twin of technical and militarised approaches that dominate Brazilian disaster response. However, understated is education's situatedness: how it can become an arena of conflict between government and civil actors fighting over state and society in contexts of increasingly hazardous urbanization in Latin America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-106
Issue number1
Early online date9 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Brazil
  • critical pedagogy
  • disaster risk education
  • environmental policy
  • risk communication
  • urban development


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