UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The gift of disaster: the commodification of good intentions in post-tsunami Sri Lanka


Korf, Benedikt; Habullah, S; Hollenbach, P; Klem, B (2010). The gift of disaster: the commodification of good intentions in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Disasters, 34(s1):S60-S77.

Abstract

This paper analyses the commodification of post-tsunami aid in Sri Lanka, a process that ‘contaminated’ the ‘purity’ of good intentions with the politics of patronage and international aid. It argues that gifts are not just material transfers of ‘aid’, but also embodiments of cultural symbolism, social power, and political affiliations. The tsunami gift re-enforced and reconfigured exchange relationships among different patrons and clients in Sri Lankan communities, perpetuating the political economy that has driven social conflict and discontent in the post-independence years. Beyond dominant rationales of ethnic or political party patronage, the paper finds that gifts by disingenuous patrons not only became patrimonial, but that the patrimonial rationale emerged as much from above as from below—a dynamic that became nearly inescapable and self-reinforcing. Through three case studies, we explore the intricate chain of relations, obligations, and expectations pertinent in the co-evolving, but often contradictory, gift rationales that permeate the practices, performances, and discourses of tsunami aid.

Abstract

This paper analyses the commodification of post-tsunami aid in Sri Lanka, a process that ‘contaminated’ the ‘purity’ of good intentions with the politics of patronage and international aid. It argues that gifts are not just material transfers of ‘aid’, but also embodiments of cultural symbolism, social power, and political affiliations. The tsunami gift re-enforced and reconfigured exchange relationships among different patrons and clients in Sri Lankan communities, perpetuating the political economy that has driven social conflict and discontent in the post-independence years. Beyond dominant rationales of ethnic or political party patronage, the paper finds that gifts by disingenuous patrons not only became patrimonial, but that the patrimonial rationale emerged as much from above as from below—a dynamic that became nearly inescapable and self-reinforcing. Through three case studies, we explore the intricate chain of relations, obligations, and expectations pertinent in the co-evolving, but often contradictory, gift rationales that permeate the practices, performances, and discourses of tsunami aid.

Citations

17 citations in Web of Science®
30 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

114 downloads since deposited on 29 Dec 2010
32 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:29 Dec 2010 16:19
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:28
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0361-3666
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7717.2009.01099.x
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-7717.2009.01099.x/abstract

Download

[img]
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 202kB
View at publisher
[img]
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations