Workshop: Governing through ‘Post-’: Post-Disaster, Post-Conflict, Post-Crisis?

by | 15 May 2014

chernobyl 03What is the significance of ‘post’ in post-disaster, post-conflict and post-crisis, and how might we analyze the similarities in the governmental responses to economic, infrastructural and societal disruption? We contend that, despite disciplinary boundaries which separate the study of war, economy and disaster, important insights can be gained through an interdisciplinary exploration of the way that events are bounded by conceptions of temporality and responsibility. Events are constituted through both anticipation and remembrance. The boundaries of ‘before’ and ‘after’ help to formulate events as ‘moments’ of disruption which punctuate equilibrium and necessitate corrective governance. This is often undertaken with scant regard for the structures that amplify and generate their impact, or their ongoing effects. Slow-burning crises are particularly susceptible to being-made-silent within this frame.

The resilience discourse, which has traversed studies and policies of economy, conflict prevention and disaster management, is paradigmatic with regard to contemporary event-thinking. Resilience imagines a field of action comprised of abstract systems which, when disrupted, can return to equilibrium through corrective action. The moment of the event is concluded, and temporally bounded, when this imagined equilibrium is reconstituted. The crisis becomes ‘post-‘. Such closure through ‘post-’ tends to alleviate policymakersfrom the need to address questions of ‘whose disaster’, the ongoing experience of effects, ongoing and slow-burning crises, and structural responsibilities for the causation of disaster.

The question of temporalities is interesting, both with regards to the deployment of discrete bounded moments of crisis – and the features of post-conflict, post-disaster and post-crisis which subvert and exceed this rendering. ‘Post-’ does not quite account for the realities of memory and ongoing experiences of supposedly closed events; public discourses and practices of commemoration can upset the application of bounded limits upon crises, such as memory practices enacted in tension with determinations of reconciliation or claims made upon post-disaster lands contra the maneuvering of ‘disaster capitalists’. Events linger on in the era of ‘post-’, despite efforts to contain them within temporal and conceptual bounds.

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Marjaana Jauhola (Helsinki):  Gendered Politics of Reconstruction and Everyday: Lived Post-Disaster Cities in the Age of Global Governmentality.
  • Graham Dawson (Brighton): Afterwards: Space, Time and Subjectivity in ‘Post-conflict’ Cultures.
  • Aoife O’Donoghue (Durham): International Law and time, an unnatural alliance?
  • James Brassett (Warwick): ‘Political Economy of the Global Event: Rationalities of Crisis for the Attention of Market S
  • Nick Shapiro (Goldsmiths): Post-Mortem Desire: Durative Disasters, Chronic Exposures and Bodies of Evidence.
  • Charlotte Heath-Kelly (Warwick): The Political Afterlife of Events: Mutating Disaster Sites between the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ and the Bali Bombing.



The workshop is funded by the Institute of Advanced Study and the Global Governance GRP, University of Warwick. It will take place at Milburn house, Institute of Advanced Study, 18th June 2014. And is organised by Charlotte Heath-Kelly & Illan Rua Wall



Please register here (places are free and lunch will be provided) if you plan on attending.


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