Returning social context to seismic risk knowledge and management: Lessons learned from an interdisciplinary research in the city of Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Abstract : Finding a holistic and integrative – yet applied and manageable – framework for both understanding and reducing disaster risk has been at the forefront of the most challenging disaster risk research for decades. Still, the search for what some consider unachievable involves multiple challenges, from institutional or cultural site-specific obstacles to more structural complications, including social conditions of knowledge-production and competing epistemological framings. As part of the ongoing REMAKE programme (Seismic Risk in Ecuador: Mitigation, Anticipation and Knowledge of Earthquakes), contributions from the social sciences provide a contextual approach to enlighten the understanding and management of seismic disaster risk, especially in Esmeraldas after the 2016 Pedernales disaster. Analysing experience reports and feedback from REMAKE allows the authors to highlight the contribution of geosciences and social sciences to the field of risk prevention. Such analysis also emphasizes the relevance of interdisciplinary research. Further, looking more deeply at this research experience shows the importance of underlying social conditionings in producing prescriptive knowledge on disaster risk. The search for more integrative research and action frameworks cannot avoid addressing an epistemological debate on approaches and conceptual models of disaster risk. Such a level of reflexivity within the discourse of research programming and risk management is consistent with the Risk Society thesis and the primary challenges that it posits. Lessons learned from REMAKE offer some insights to nurture the very first steps towards interdisciplinary research programmes and integrative disaster prevention policies, so that a significant difference might be made in disaster risk reduction.
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Julien Rebotier, Patrick Pigeon, Pascale Metzger. Returning social context to seismic risk knowledge and management: Lessons learned from an interdisciplinary research in the city of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Cybergeo : Revue européenne de géographie / European journal of geography, UMR 8504 Géographie-cités, 2019, ⟨https://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/31787⟩. ⟨10.4000/cybergeo.31787 ⟩. ⟨halshs-02053559⟩

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