Of all the huge natural disasters that claimed the lives of thousands in Asia, the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 was the largest, estimated to have killed more than 230,000 people. The scope of damage brought about by this natural disaster urges focus on recovery and post-disaster reconstruction from several perspectives. Here we find an in-depth ethnography of Thailand and the role of culture and religion as an underpinning issue in post-disaster recovery.
Following the post-tsunami recovery over five years, the book provides knowledge on socio-cultural responses from affected local communities after natural hazards, and is based on original material collected in Thailand after the 2004 tsunami. With a focus on how culture and religion interplay in the processes of building resilience and decreasing vulnerability, it gives a deeper understanding of how disasters are experienced and dealt with on a local level. It examines survivors’ experiences of rituals and ceremonies that became a part of the survivors’ lives in new ways after the tsunami, offering psychological reassurance and religious efficaciousness as well as communication links between themselves and the deceased.
Using observations, narratives and material from in-depth interviews with survivors, relatives, relief workers, officials and Buddhist monks and nuns, this book contributes to the research on anthropology of disaster and to the development of research on cultural resilience and religion in post-disaster recovery. It will be of interest to scholars of Disaster Studies, Buddhist Studies and Asian Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Framing relief and in post-tsunami Thailand 3. The day of disruption 4. A place of refuge: Organizing chaos 5. Communication across boundaries 6.Buddhism and ways to recovery 7.Donations, compensations and religious mission 8.Remembrance, commemoration and memorial ceremonies 9.Building resilience 10.Conclusion
Monica Lindberg Falk is a Social Anthropologist at Lund University, Sweden. She is the author of Making Fields of Merit: Buddhist Female Ascetics and Gendered orders in Thailand (2007), and has published several articles on themes related to gender, Buddhism, socially engaged Buddhism, and Buddhism and disasters.
"Falk’s detailed study adds much to an understanding of how the tsunami disaster was confronted in Thailand. It also offers insights that are relevant to the understanding of major disasters elsewhere."
Charles Keyes, University of Washington, The Journal of Asian Studies