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Prognosis past: the temporal politics of disaster in Colombia

Zeiderman, Austin ORCID: 0000-0002-3694-3719 (2016) Prognosis past: the temporal politics of disaster in Colombia. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 22 (S1). 163 - 180. ISSN 1359-0987

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9655.12399


In this paper, I explore a prognostic modality of environmental politics I call risk in retrospect. I do so by examining conflicts that are not just over the ability of state science to know and govern the future, but also its failure to have been able to do so in the past. I begin by discussing the 2009 earthquake that hit the Italian city of L’Aquila and then turn to a similar case in Colombia, both of which reflect the constitutive relationship between political authority and foresight. I then trace the strong historical precedent for this type of political situation in Colombia by discussing a key cultural referent – Gabriel García Márquez’s 1981 book, Chronicle of a death foretold – as well as the convergence of two catastrophic events during one week in November 1985 that were both seen, in their aftermath, as ‘tragedies foretold’. I conclude by considering what it would mean for prognosis to become the terrain on which citizens engage in political relationships with the state.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Royal Anthropological Institute
Divisions: Geography & Environment
LSE Cities
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2016 11:52
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 01:48

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