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In the Eye of the Storm: The Social Construction of the Forces of Nature and the Climatic and Seismic Construction of God in the Philippines

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2004

Greg Bankoff
The University of Auckland in New Zealand. His e-mail contact is Wageningen University in the Netherlands.


The social construction of hazard is a matter of considerable moment to those engaged in disaster preparedness, management and relief. All too often, insufficient recognition is accorded to the manner in which people's actions are influenced by their cultural interpretation of what they are experiencing. Behaviours that appear inappropriate or illogical to external agency or relief workers may be entirely consistent and rational actions when understood in the context of the operating schema of the individuals experiencing such phenomena.

© 2004 The National University of Singapore

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Time and opportunity for researching this paper were made possible through Visiting Fellowships at the Department of Sociology, Wageningen University in the Sociology of Rural Development Section and Disaster Studies in 1998–9 and 2002–3. I would like to express my appreciation to Georg Frerks, Dorothea Hilhorst and Norman Long. Some parts of this article have previously appeared in various chapters of Greg Bankoff, Cultures of disaster: Society and natural hazard in the Philippines (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003).