Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
This paper examines the intersections of two disasters in Sri Lanka: the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the decades-long civil war that ended in May 2009. Specifically, I trace how post-tsunami disaster management logics came to encapsulate the management of terrorism, such that techniques of governance in the name of national security work to produce a constant and imminent threat of catastrophe – either in the form of a natural disaster or a terrorist attack — thus legitimizing the Sri Lankan government’s continued militarized presence in war- and tsunami-affected regions. The ruptures in the social fabric caused by the tsunami and the violence of war have elicited different forms of social and political engagements with the specters of future and past disasters future and the past. I highlight how projects of disaster management breed insecurity, such that disasters, even after their ends, continue to be a part everyday life. Within this national time-space of disaster I detail the experiences of how these disasters are endured: a living through and with on-going crisis – that negotiates, but does not necessarily resist or seek to transcend the technopolitics of Sri Lankan state power.