Disaster Prevention and Management
L4. Cultura del desastre y gobernanza del riesgo
José Luis Vargas, Patricio Melillanca y José Miguel Valdés-Negroni.
Análisis del riesgo y mitigación
Gobernanza ciudadana del riesgo
Respuesta individual y de la sociedad
Vulnerabilidad física y social
Chile, Colonialism, Indigenous People, Mapping, Covid-19, Disaster Studies, Mapuche
The authors use media research and crowdsourced mapping to document how the first wave of the pandemic (April–August 2020) affected the Mapuche, focussing on seven categories of events: territorial control, spiritual defence, food sovereignty, traditional health practices, political violence, territorial needs and solidarity, and extractivist expansion.
Research on the effects of the pandemic on the Mapuche and their territories is lacking; the few existing studies focus on death and infection rates but overlook how the pandemic interacts with ongoing processes of extractivism, state violence and community resistance. The authors’ pilot study addresses this gap through a map developed collaboratively by disaster scholars and Mapuche journalists.
The map provides a spatial and chronological overview of this period, highlighting the interconnections between the pandemic and neocolonialism. As examples, the authors focus on two phenomena: the creation of “health barriers” to ensure local territorial control and the state-supported expansion of extractive industries during the first months of the lockdown.
The authors intersperse our account of the project with reflections on its limitations and, specifically, on how colonial formations shape the research. Decolonising disaster studies and disaster risk reduction practice, the authors argue, is an ongoing process, bound to be flawed and incomplete but nevertheless an urgent pursuit.
In making this argument, the paper responds to the Disaster Studies Manifesto that inspires this special issue, taking up its invitation to scholars to be more reflexive about their research practice and to frame their investigations through grounded perspectives.