Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of International, Cultural and Community Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Chris Griffin

Second Advisor

Dr Pat Baines

Abstract

There is currently an emerging literature on the anthropology of disasters, and also an emergent literature on the new anthropology of childhood and children. Despite an extensive search, no significant body of literature on the anthropology of children in natural event based disasters could be found. A central focus of this thesis will be interrogate this gap through a documentary search, to ascertain what factors might influence the absence of children in the anthropology of disasters. To achieve this, the study defines and conceptualizes both the anthropology of disasters and the anthropology of children. Recent research shows that children are not simply passive receivers of culture, but are active social actors in the construction of a sense of self, place and community. The thesis will examine the discourses of disaster containing children and argue that children are securely enclosed in the medicalized narratives of psychology and psychiatry. The purpose of the study will be to suggest ways in which the separate discourses may engage in dialogue, and to generate research questions on how an anthropology of children in disasters might be perceived. The thesis will propose that children can be a positive resource in disaster preparedness. Mitigation and response, and it is hoped that this field of research will impact on future disaster policy and practice.

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