Redistributing vulnerabilities: House reconstruction following the 2006 Central Java earthquake

Jens Seeberg, Retna Siwi Padmawati

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It is widely accepted that the social distribution of vulnerability in a given society may turn hazardous events into disasters. This distributional approach draws attention to continuities that explain catastrophes by virtue of the workings of society prior to the event. In this paper, we draw attention to the social processes whereby vulnerability is modified and renegotiated during the post-disaster period where resources for disaster alleviation and reconstruction enter local communities. Specifically, we explore the social dynamics of house damage classification in the wake of the 2006 Central Java earthquake, and we explore relations between citizens and the state during post-disaster house reconstruction. We argue that disastrous outcomes of catastrophic events do not follow pre-existing fault lines of vulnerability in a simple or predictable manner, and that the social process of redistribution of vulnerability continues in the post-disaster scenario.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Hazards
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2015


  • Disaster
  • Indonesia
  • Vulnerability
  • House reconstruction
  • Hybrid Kinds


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