Research Example #5

Gunewardena, Nandini, “Human Security versus Neoliberal Approaches to Disaster Recovery”, in Gunewardena, Nandini and Schuller, Mark Capitalizing on Catastrophe: Neoliberal Strategies in Disaster Reconstruction, AltaMira Press, (2008).

Using a descriptive case study logic, Nandini Gunewardena analyzes the relationships of “‘natural’ and human-mediated disasters,'” (3) to better understand destructive processes. She focuses on the after-effects of natural disasters, specifically the limitations and restrictions set against market economies and what she describes as the “neoliberal economic doctrine” (4). Documenting the paradigm shift from humanitarian aid based on genuine desire to ease human suffering to corporate, free-market incentivized “investments” in recovery, Gunewardena explores the loss of human sympathy and strategies to profit from disasters. By using neoliberal strategies to commodify developments in a post-disaster context effectively intensify underlying socioeconomic vulnerabilities for marginalized communities, increasing social and economic inequalities for overlooked communities. This work aligns very well with my research design, essentially bringing together the issues highlighted by all of my research examples and sources. Seeing the same ideas I wrote on for my extended design outline exemplified in just one chapter of this book shows the potential evidence I could draw from this literature in continuing my research design.

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