The Dangers of Romanticising Local Knowledge in the Context of Disaster Studies and Practice

Intepe, D., Sakic Trogrlic, R., Filippi, M.E., Hermans, T., Bailon, H., & Maton, A. (2023). The Dangers of Romanticising Local Knowledge in the Context of Disaster Studies and Practice. In: Routledge Handbook on Cultural Heritage and Disaster Risk Management. pp. 147-164 Routledge. ISBN 9781003293019 10.4324/9781003293019-15.

Full text not available from this repository.


This chapter focuses on local knowledge, which disaster studies and policy are increasingly drawing from, to understand what local knowledge can realistically achieve within the context of disaster risk studies, how it interacts with ‘Western’ or ‘scientific’ knowledge, and how this interaction ultimately affects local communities coping with frequent hazards and disasters. Starting from the premise that an uncritical engagement with local knowledges leads to the further marginalisation of these types of knowledge and its holders, the chapter unpacks misleading assumptions around what these knowledges are and what they can realistically achieve regarding disaster risk reduction at the local level. Recognising the urgent need for a balanced engagement with local knowledge in disaster studies that acknowledges the plurality of knowledges, and its strengths as well as limitations, this chapter highlights the often unequal power dynamics between local knowledge and other types of knowledge. The chapter ultimately argues that local knowledges cannot be imagined separately from social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors as well as the relations of power that lead to their emergence and continued existence, meaning that unrealistic assumptions around the ‘integration’ of local knowledges into scientific knowledge need to be critically questioned in relation to concepts such as ‘resilience’ and ‘vulnerability’. An important step towards a true recognition of local knowledges is, therefore, an in-depth rethinking of the conventional knowledge production apparatus and our research methods.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Systemic Risk and Resilience (SYRR)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2023 12:51
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 12:51

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item