New publication in Development and Change

We are happy to announce that project participants Philippe Le Billon (UBC), Manoj Suji (Social Science Baha), Jeevan Baniya (Social Science Baha), Bina Limbu (Social Science Baha), Dinesh Paudel (Appalachian State University), Katharine Rankin (University of Toronto), Nabin Rawal (Tribhuvan University) and Sara Shneiderman (UBC) have just published an article in Development and Change titled “Disaster Finacialization: Earthquakes, Cashflows and Shifting Household Economies in Nepal”.

Abstract: The political economy literature on post‐disaster reconstruction tends to contrast ‘disaster capitalism’ narratives denouncing the predatory character of neoliberal rebuilding, and ‘building back better’ policies supporting market‐driven reconstruction. This article seeks to provide a more nuanced account, developing the concept of ‘disaster financialization’ through a case study of household‐level changes experienced through processes of post‐earthquake reconstruction in Nepal. The concept of disaster financialization describes not only the integration of disaster‐affected households into the cash‐based logic of reconstruction instituted by donors and government authorities, but also the financialization of their lives, social relations and subjectivities. It is a transitive process involving a shift into financialized mechanisms of disaster prevention, adaptation and recovery. Analysing contrasting experiences across three earthquake‐affected districts in Nepal, this study proposes disaster financialization as an integrative term through which to understand the simultaneous acceleration of monetization, the leveraging of cash incentives by donors and government to ‘build back better’, and the flurry of financial transactions associated with reconstruction processes. While some aspects of disaster financialization have had negative social impacts, such as debt‐related anxieties and a breakdown of voluntary labour exchanges hurting the most vulnerable, the process has taken on variegated forms, with equally variegated effects, reflecting household characteristics and interactions with financial institutions.

The article can be accessed here:

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