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The political biography of an earthquake: Aftermath and amnesia in Gujarat, India

Simpson, Edward (2013) The political biography of an earthquake: Aftermath and amnesia in Gujarat, India. London: Hurst.

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Abstract

For those so-minded, the aftermath of an earthquake presents opportunities to intervene. Thus, in Gujarat, following the disaster of 2001, leaders were deposed, proletariats created, religious fundamentalism incubated, the state restructured, and industrial capitalism expanded exponentially. Rather than gazing in at those struggling in the ruins, as is commonplace in the literature, this book looks out from the affected region at those who came to intervene. Based on extensive research amid the dust and noise of reconstruction, the author focuses on the survivors and their interactions with death, history, and with those who came to use the shock of disaster to change the order of things. Edward Simpson takes us deep into the experience of surviving a ‘natural’ disaster. We see a society in mourning, further alienated by manufactured conditions of uncertainty and absurdity. We witness arguments about the past. What was important? What should be preserved? Was modernisation the cause of the disaster or the antidote? As people were putting things back together, they also knew that future earthquakes were inevitable. How did they learn to live with this terrible truth? How have people in other times and places come to terms with the promise of another earthquake, knowing that things will fall apart again?

Item Type: Authored Books
Keywords: Gujarat earthquake, politics
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISBN: 184904287X
Depositing User: Edward Simpson
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2013 11:56
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/17710

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