Zeitschrift für Entwicklungsethnologie, 1+2/2007 (16. Jahrgang)
This empirically grounded study focuses on an often neglected dimension of risk management. Its aim is to achieve an understanding of the communication processes of urban risks emphasizing the complexity of risks as constructed by slum dwellers in urban India. The author draws from a wide range of theories from sociology, anthropology and planning to develop a socio-cultural approach to risk perception and the dynamics of communication. Accordingly, communication is conceptualized as a cultural practice in terms of the social construction of meaning and interaction. The integrated framework developed to communicate risks builds on the paradigm of urban governance emphasizing that communication does not take place in a social and cultural vacuum.
A major part of the publication is dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the case study, describing in detail various aspects of risk construction and communication between slum communities, urban authorities and the involvement of NGOs. This is well illustrated with graphs and tables. Significant is the author’s discussion of risk communication in the specific cultural context of India. In this section topics such as the relationship of modernity, environment and the city, caste and notions of misfortune are addressed from an explicitly anthropological perspective.
While this booklet is published by the German group of development anthropologists, it will be particularly useful for both practitioners and scholars who want to explore new horizons in the study of risk management.
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