Is disaster “normal” for indigenous people? Indigenous knowledge and coping practices

Dorothea Hilhorst, Judith Baart, Gemma van der Haar, Floor Maria Leeftink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates on the value of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction. Recent international policy papers advocate the importance of indigenous knowledge and calls for its recognition. The paper aims to explore these issues in the everyday practices of disaster response by indigenous peoples and surrounding actors. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a total of seven months ethnographic research in indigenous communities in Thailand and the Philippines. The Thai communities had experienced minor disasters, whereas the Philippine communities were recently hit by a major killer typhoon. Findings – In both countries the authors found that indigenous knowledge is neither completely local, nor homogenous, nor shared. The findings caution against a view that indigenous knowledge is grounded in a long tradition of coping with disasters. Coping is embedded in social practice and responsive to change. Positive labelling of indigenous practices can help to render communities more resilient. Research limitations/implications – The research was exploratory in nature and could be replicated and expanded in other indigenous peoples’ communities. Practical implications – Rather than understanding indigenous peoples as simultaneously vulnerable and resilient, it calls for a more comprehensive approach to indigenous knowledge and practices around disaster. Social implications – The limitations are shown of uncritically ascribing indigenous communities a close relation to nature. It may be unfounded and de-politicises indigenous struggles. Originality/value – This paper approaches indigenous knowledge issues from the point of view of indigenous communities themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-522
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

indigenous knowledge
Disasters
disaster
coping
knowledge
community
Philippines
Research
Cyclonic Storms
typhoon
Thailand
Risk Reduction Behavior
Indigenous knowledge
Disaster
Indigenous peoples
Values
methodology
Indigenous communities

Keywords

  • Indigenous peoples
  • Natural hazard
  • Resilience
  • State-society relations

Cite this

Hilhorst, Dorothea ; Baart, Judith ; van der Haar, Gemma ; Leeftink, Floor Maria. / Is disaster “normal” for indigenous people? Indigenous knowledge and coping practices. In: Disaster Prevention and Management. 2015 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 506-522.
@article{ac0da191fb734f0baae799b6a4a38e5a,
title = "Is disaster “normal” for indigenous people? Indigenous knowledge and coping practices",
abstract = "Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates on the value of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction. Recent international policy papers advocate the importance of indigenous knowledge and calls for its recognition. The paper aims to explore these issues in the everyday practices of disaster response by indigenous peoples and surrounding actors. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a total of seven months ethnographic research in indigenous communities in Thailand and the Philippines. The Thai communities had experienced minor disasters, whereas the Philippine communities were recently hit by a major killer typhoon. Findings – In both countries the authors found that indigenous knowledge is neither completely local, nor homogenous, nor shared. The findings caution against a view that indigenous knowledge is grounded in a long tradition of coping with disasters. Coping is embedded in social practice and responsive to change. Positive labelling of indigenous practices can help to render communities more resilient. Research limitations/implications – The research was exploratory in nature and could be replicated and expanded in other indigenous peoples’ communities. Practical implications – Rather than understanding indigenous peoples as simultaneously vulnerable and resilient, it calls for a more comprehensive approach to indigenous knowledge and practices around disaster. Social implications – The limitations are shown of uncritically ascribing indigenous communities a close relation to nature. It may be unfounded and de-politicises indigenous struggles. Originality/value – This paper approaches indigenous knowledge issues from the point of view of indigenous communities themselves.",
keywords = "Indigenous peoples, Natural hazard, Resilience, State-society relations",
author = "Dorothea Hilhorst and Judith Baart and {van der Haar}, Gemma and Leeftink, {Floor Maria}",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1108/DPM-02-2015-0027",
language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "506--522",
journal = "Disaster Prevention and Management",
issn = "0965-3562",
publisher = "MCB University Press",
number = "4",

}

Is disaster “normal” for indigenous people? Indigenous knowledge and coping practices. / Hilhorst, Dorothea; Baart, Judith; van der Haar, Gemma; Leeftink, Floor Maria.

In: Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2015, p. 506-522.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Is disaster “normal” for indigenous people? Indigenous knowledge and coping practices

AU - Hilhorst, Dorothea

AU - Baart, Judith

AU - van der Haar, Gemma

AU - Leeftink, Floor Maria

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates on the value of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction. Recent international policy papers advocate the importance of indigenous knowledge and calls for its recognition. The paper aims to explore these issues in the everyday practices of disaster response by indigenous peoples and surrounding actors. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a total of seven months ethnographic research in indigenous communities in Thailand and the Philippines. The Thai communities had experienced minor disasters, whereas the Philippine communities were recently hit by a major killer typhoon. Findings – In both countries the authors found that indigenous knowledge is neither completely local, nor homogenous, nor shared. The findings caution against a view that indigenous knowledge is grounded in a long tradition of coping with disasters. Coping is embedded in social practice and responsive to change. Positive labelling of indigenous practices can help to render communities more resilient. Research limitations/implications – The research was exploratory in nature and could be replicated and expanded in other indigenous peoples’ communities. Practical implications – Rather than understanding indigenous peoples as simultaneously vulnerable and resilient, it calls for a more comprehensive approach to indigenous knowledge and practices around disaster. Social implications – The limitations are shown of uncritically ascribing indigenous communities a close relation to nature. It may be unfounded and de-politicises indigenous struggles. Originality/value – This paper approaches indigenous knowledge issues from the point of view of indigenous communities themselves.

AB - Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates on the value of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction. Recent international policy papers advocate the importance of indigenous knowledge and calls for its recognition. The paper aims to explore these issues in the everyday practices of disaster response by indigenous peoples and surrounding actors. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a total of seven months ethnographic research in indigenous communities in Thailand and the Philippines. The Thai communities had experienced minor disasters, whereas the Philippine communities were recently hit by a major killer typhoon. Findings – In both countries the authors found that indigenous knowledge is neither completely local, nor homogenous, nor shared. The findings caution against a view that indigenous knowledge is grounded in a long tradition of coping with disasters. Coping is embedded in social practice and responsive to change. Positive labelling of indigenous practices can help to render communities more resilient. Research limitations/implications – The research was exploratory in nature and could be replicated and expanded in other indigenous peoples’ communities. Practical implications – Rather than understanding indigenous peoples as simultaneously vulnerable and resilient, it calls for a more comprehensive approach to indigenous knowledge and practices around disaster. Social implications – The limitations are shown of uncritically ascribing indigenous communities a close relation to nature. It may be unfounded and de-politicises indigenous struggles. Originality/value – This paper approaches indigenous knowledge issues from the point of view of indigenous communities themselves.

KW - Indigenous peoples

KW - Natural hazard

KW - Resilience

KW - State-society relations

U2 - 10.1108/DPM-02-2015-0027

DO - 10.1108/DPM-02-2015-0027

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 506

EP - 522

JO - Disaster Prevention and Management

JF - Disaster Prevention and Management

SN - 0965-3562

IS - 4

ER -