In what ways are science and technology implicated in the disaster?


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April 9, 2020
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Science and technology provide us with the tools to study and understand the causes and outcomes of a disaster. This is particularly also in the context of the creation of new knowledge systems. These new knowledge systems may manifest in varied forms, be it in the form of disaster capitalism that operates on replacement of existing institutions with new ones or on the other hand, the manner in which reconstruction is undertaken for the reconstitution of old systems as mentioned in the article on the shock doctrine. Shock therapy essentially consists of sweeping market reforms in one fell swoop, which leads to a complete dismantling of existing systems giving rise to the creation of new systems. In a similar vein, the fact that science and technology studies essentially deals with societal dynamics as well, it becomes deeply implicated in the way a disaster is understood, defined and managed by different institutions and actors. In making a case for Disaster Science and Technology, technoscience allows for the navigation through emerging systems of knowledge in the aftermath of disasters in providing a critique or analysis of these occurences. The operation of politics is also deeply intertwined with the way technoscientific knowledge systems are understood and how disasters are recognised. Science provides a visualisation according to Jasanoff, but the way these visualisations are percieved and understood become techniques that influence public understanding of occurences, in this case- disasters.