Understanding Resilience and Risks : A Qualitative Case Study of International Disaster Policy and Informal Settlements in Buenos Aires, Argentina

University essay from Umeå universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract:

This study is the result of a two-year long minor field study project of informal settlements in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The aim was to analyse the concept ofdisaster resilience by describing possible contemporary complications in both theory and practice related to resilience and risks of informal settlements in Buenos Aires. For this reason I have applied the theoretical concept of resilience used by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). The research has been conducted in two local settings of informal settlements by using a qualitative case study approach of semi-structured interviews and observations. The chosen area of empirics has been limited to local voluntary and political organisations in a context of self-organization were all chosen interviewees have some relation to either projects or organizations in the area. The results show that local context of functionality depends on different political strategies that can either restrict or assist the process of resilience, which can occur on both individual and collective levels of community. In this context resistance to natural hazards becomes contradictive in absence of prevention when resilience is achieved without even touching high levels of vulnerability such as drugs and violence. In this setting United Nations stands before a change of paradigms in either continuing to manage disasters or change focus to manage underlying drivers of risks. 

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