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Durham e-Theses
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The Disaster Event and its Afterlives

HUSSAIN, ZAHRA (2019) The Disaster Event and its Afterlives. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY).



Disasters are typically known as disruptive events that occur in a specific period of time and result in considerable loss of human life and destruction of built environment and infrastructure (Wagner, 1978; Quaternelli, 1998; Wisner et al, 2004). Disasters are thus increasingly considered as perturbations in an otherwise stable world. This thesis, however, attempts to move away from the perturbation and return systems thinking and instead assess the disaster as ‘on-going’ event in order to attend to the different ways in which the disaster lives on. By conducting research on a landslide event in Northern Pakistan, this thesis attempts to analyse the varied and disparate ways in which the disaster event lives on beyond the formal, State-led or NGO-led frameworks of disaster management, response and recovery. Specifically, it engages with how ‘life is held together’ by the affected communities in the absence and exhaustion of aid programs, and how through their practices and processes of inhabiting the post-disaster landscape, they continue to shape its making.
This thesis is therefore interested in the afterlives of the event, by exploring its varying intensities, as it emerges and seeps into the practices and processes in the post-disaster landscape, through its remnants and traces, spatial configurations and practices of everyday life. In attending to the three different modalities of how the disaster lives on, this thesis ventures into the everyday lives of those affected by the event and treads a landscape replete with traces and remnants of the disaster. In so doing, it explores the improvisatory practices employed to hold things together in constrained and challenging environments. In analysing ways through which affected people claim space, this thesis explores how imposed spatial forms are re-purposed in particular ways and re-written with patterns familiar to the inhabitants. It also attends to stories, remnants and traces that multiply, order the landscape and keep the disaster event alive in different ways. This research therefore meets the afterlives of the disaster event at three specific sites; the everyday practices of making do and living on, the process of inhabiting spatial forms, and the traces of the disaster event that continue to erupt and haunt the post-disaster landscape of Hunza Valley and Gojal Valley.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Disaster, event, actors, inquiry, landscapes, forms, practices, materials, architecture, pattern language, traces, remnants, stories, field
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Jun 2019 07:56

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