What is the role of state and bureaucratic actors, at different scales, in the production and management of disaster?


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April 9, 2020
In response to:

In the context of disaster, most often, given that affected populations are vulnerable along many axes (depending on the kind of the disaster), the role of the state is manifold. It is not just to respond to the emergency; ideally, there ought to be a larger onus to safeguard the affected populations against obviously known vulnerabilities that populations might be exposed to. To ascertain care along multiple axes that worry and stress individuals in most precarious situations.

In case of COVID-19, knowing that the lockdown ( an essential measure to reduce social contact)would initiate a surge in travel (migrant population within the country returning to their native places) was anticipated. It should have been managed by making essential arrangements.
Given the immediacy/ urgency factor in situations of disasters, the state's role ought not just to respond to circumstances at one single level, but in some ways, it needs to be equipped at least to anticipate the most obvious consequences of the measures that are put in place and to be cognizant of the existing systemic issues that might especially flare-up in unprecedented circumstances.

April 8, 2020
In response to:

The state has an overarching yet translucent role in the production and management of disasters. It is in the legitimacy of the state that helps enforce the production of any disaster in the dark and the claim to act in case of managing it. On top of that, it becomes interesting how the state as an institution in times of disaster assumes the paramount role and the language of the domain under threat. In the case of Covid-19, the language of the state becomes the language of science. Similarly, on a global scale, the state becomes the representative of the individual, the state then becomes the individual, while the individual becomes numerical. In the case of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the Indian state took upon itself to represent the victims, therefore, denying them their voices. It is this conflict between legitimacy, language and representation that the state lapses to produce a disaster and ironically arms itself with the same for managing it.