Disaster capitalism : tsunami reconstruction and neoliberalism in Nagapattinam, South India



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This dissertation examines the impacts of the tsunami of 2004 on economic development priorities in Nagapattinam, South India. By focusing on the manner in which the disaster was cast as an opportunity by the state and multilateral agencies, the unprecedented scale and ambiguous character of involvement by NGOs in reconstruction, and the distinction drawn between economic development and humanitarian aid in the constitution of a reconstruction agenda predicated on the relocation of artisanal fisher communities from the coast, this study demonstrates how post-disaster outcomes are increasingly being shaped by priorities tied to neoliberal globalization. At the same time the processes that unfold are also characterized by significant complexities particularly on account of efforts by affected populations to deploy various strategies to defend their interests, and substantive differences in the approach of NGOs.