Chapter 4

Complexity and Diversity: UnlockingSocial Domains of Disaster Response


Dorothea Hilhorst


This chapter introduces a way of looking at disaster response through the study of science, governance and local knowledge as social domains of knowledge and action.1 Social domains are areas of social life such as family, community and market whose study allows one to understand how social ordering works. The chapter starts from the premise that disaster studies during the last decade have increasingly been overtaken by a paradigm that accords central importance to mutuality and complexity in the relations between nature and society. While welcoming this shift, I am concerned about the ‘system-thinking’ remnant in much of complexity ...

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