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Title: Knowledges, controversies and floods : national-scale flood management in Bangladesh
Author: Cook, Brian Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 4240
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2010
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This research explores the views, beliefs and knowledges of experts responsible for flood management in Bangladesh. As one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth, and in response to the neglect of power-holding experts within the existing literature, this project analyses the differences between academic accounts of flooding, labelled the ‘prevailing understanding’, and the local expertise of those responsible for management. Relative to the entrenched narrative, local experts are surveyed and an alternate interpretation is constructed using their knowledge. This combination of textual and perception-based analyses accounts for the complex interrelations between competing forms of knowing. It is on this juxtaposition that the research contributes to new knowledge. The thesis is based on research conducted in Bangladesh between November 2007 and March 2008. To accomplish its objectives, using prominent debates as entry points, academic and government sources are used to account for the lineage of the prevailing understanding. On the basis of this narrative, qualitative interviews with 54 experts explore the construction of flood management knowledge and its relationship with decision making. The experts describe and justify understandings of flood management that are contextual, adaptive and indefinite, challenging many of the assumptions associated with the prevailing understanding. The findings inform several findings: that individuals close to the poverty line are uniquely vulnerable; that disasters merge with management to produce second-generation events; and that a hybrid socio-physical context is both a product and a producer of flood management knowledge. Overall, despite the already complex issue of flooding, managers in Bangladesh consider increasingly issues as diverse as poverty, environmental sustainability and economic and human development. Given the scope of the controversy surrounding flood management, the findings show how analyses of competing knowledges, assumptions and framings can aid the interrogation of prevailing knowledge to generate original findings
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available