[URBANTH-L]Ideas for a globalization reader?

Mark A. Schuller marky at umail.ucsb.edu
Thu Mar 6 09:10:50 EST 2008

Hi all,

Damn I hate doing this, but I'm one of the editors of a new volume  
that just came out last Friday that discusses the theme of  
globalization within a framework of disaster capitalism...  apologies  
for the self-promotion.


Capitalizing on Catastrophe: Neoliberal Strategies in Disaster Reconstruction
Alta Mira Press
Globalization and the Environment Series

Edited by Nandini Gunewardena & Mark Schuller
Foreward by Alex de Waal
February 2008

In Capitalizing on Catastrophe an international group of scholars and  
professionals critically examine how local communities around the  
world have prepared for and responded to recent cataclysms. The book's  
principal focus is the increasing trend to rely on the private sector  
to deal with natural disasters and other forms of large-scale  
devastation, from hurricanes and tsunamis to civil wars and industrial  
accidents. Called "disaster capitalism" by its critics, the tendency  
to contract private interests to solve massive, urgent public problems  
may be inevitable but is extremely problematic--especially with  
respect to peoples who need help the most. Can private relief groups  
give the highest priority to potential and actual victims of large  
disasters, for example, if that means devoting fewer resources to  
protecting tourism and other profitable industries? The high-profile  
contributors to this volume straightforwardly tackle such timely and  
difficult questions of great public concern. Cases include Hurricane  
Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, military intervention in  
Afghanistan, tropical storms in Caribbean nations such as Honduras and  
Belize, political turmoil in Haiti and Guatemala, the 9/11 attacks,  
and the Bhopal gas leak.

List of Contributors
Sara E. Alexander, Gregory Button, Bettina Damiani, Antonio Donini,  
Elizabeth Guillette, Nandini Gunewardena, Wahneema Lubiano, Anthony  
Oliver-Smith, Adolph Reed Jr, Anna Belinda Sandoval Girón, Mark  
Schuller, Susan Stonich

"Moralized discourse served as a protective bubble that provided  
immunity from rigorous analysis. That bubble has burst, but only on  
the top floor of the ivory tower. The overwhelming majority of media  
coverage and academic writing remains entrapped in an untheorized  
consensus that relief and rehabilitation are good things beyond  
rebuke. Capitalizing on Catastrophe is an important exercise in  
scholarship. It brings the phenomenon of neoliberal disaster  
capitalism into sharp focus, defining the field in a theoretical and  
comparative manner and exploring some important case studies. This  
book is also an essential exercise in framing an emergent public  
policy issue." —Alexander de Waal, Harvard University, from the Foreword

"Capitalizing on Catastrophe critically examines the motivations and  
agendas that fuel the political will to act in the name of  
humanitarian assistance to the large-scale crises and human tragedies  
of our times. Using diverse examples of disaster from around the  
world, the authors tease apart the complex continuum of causality,  
response, and consequence--asking the basic questions of who pays, who  
profits, and to what effect. In so doing, they put a human face to  
disaster response, and that face is not a pretty one. Nandini  
Gunewardena and Mark Schuller have pulled together an incredibly  
strong collection of case studies, framed in a sharp and clear  
analysis with pragmatic suggestions for change. In a world of  
escalating chaos and misery, this collection offers the reader a  
useful tool to assess recent experiences. More importantly,  
Capitalizing on Catastrophe offers pragmatic strategies to emphasize  
human needs in humanitarian response." —Barbara Rose Johnston, Center  
for Political Ecology, Santa Cruz

"This is a stunning book that builds on, and extends, previous  
research on disaster, social vulnerability, and reconstruction. The  
contributors discuss social vulnerability and neoliberalism, disaster  
capitalism, humanitarian issues, and cultural data sets from around  
the world. The book provides a rich combination of ethnography and  
theory." —Linda M. Whiteford, University of South Florida

The book is now in print, being processed in the warehouse.  If people  
want the 25% discount, they can pre-order the book now by visiting the  


p.s. I find Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's "Friction" really useful as well.

John Schaefer <johnschaefer at mail.utexas.edu> wrote:

> Susan, if you could compile the results and repost them to the list   
> I think many
> of us would be interested. For example, I had dismissed this one by Inda and
> Rosaldo as being outdated, but now that it's in its 2nd edition, what's the
> verdict from the hive mind?
> http://www.amazon.com/Anthropology-Globalization-Reader-Blackwell-Readers/dp/140513612X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204748187&sr=1-3
> Thanks,
> John.
> Quoting susan mazur <susanmazur at hotmail.com>:
>> I'd like to consult the anthro hive mind - does anybody have suggestions for
>> course reader in a class on Globalization and Culture Change? I'd love to
>> include a gamut from older robust theory to latest cutting edge.   
>> The class is
>> upper division, but I'd like the material to be more accessible than not.
>> Please email me at susanmazur at hotmail.com
>> Thanks!  Susan Mazur-Stommen, Ph.D.  PrincipalIndicia Consulting: Measurable
>> results for your
>> business951.687.8661_______________________________________________
>> URBANTH-L mailing list
>> URBANTH-L at lists.ysu.edu
>> http://lists.ysu.edu/mailman/listinfo.cgi/urbanth-l
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-Mark Schuller

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