Methodological experimentation in political ecology: building scenarios of societal responses to future hydrological extremes

Authors: Maria Rusca*, , Gabriele Messori, Uppsala University, Giuliano Di Baldassarre , Uppsala University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Climatology and Meteorology, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Hydroclimatic extremes, disasters, uneven development, vulnerability, differentiated recovery trajectories
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Floods and droughts have significantly impacted humanity throughout history and increasing global trends in hydrological extremes are expected to be exacerbated by climate change. This will have widespread socio-economic consequences and affect the ability of different societal groups to recover from, and adapt to, rapidly changing hydroclimatic conditions. Political ecologies of water and critical disaster studies have been effective in unravelling and critiquing the processes of exploitation and the choreographies of power shaping uneven exposure to hydrological extremes and the differentiated recovery trajectories they elicit. Yet, this scholarship has placed less attention to what this critique can reveal about the future. Here we invoke a more experimental political ecology that integrates critical analysis with scenario thinking to unravel the politics of utopian and dystopian futures of unprecedented extreme events. This requires creating new forms of knowledge that integrate analyses of the past - structural causes and political processes of risk accumulation and differentiated recovery trajectories - with plausible future hydroclimatic extremes grounded in numerical climate projections. Eschewing prevailing technocratic views on disasters and hydrological extremes, we specifically seek to integrate the physical characteristics of the extremes with examinations of how intersectionality, power, politics and policy visions shape societal responses to future unprecedented events.

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