Ms Kaira Zoe Alburo-Canete2
2University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
This paper examines the reconstruction of post-Yolanda Tacloban City from a feminist standpoint. I argue that ‘building back better’ from disaster is essentially enmeshed in a citizenship project that instills within disaster-affected communities the responsibility to be resilient. The inculcation of this ethic of responsibility evidently plays out within the micro-moral domains of community life: the body, home, community, and local environs. While the idea of ‘governing through community’ has been articulated as a novel mode of governing in recent years, I highlight how the domains through which post-disaster governance operates are also fundamentally feminised spaces. With women as critical drivers of community recovery, as my research in Tacloban shows, I argue that the ‘responsibilisation of resilience’ is achieved not simply by ‘governing through community’ as evident in community-focused interventions delivered by both state and non-state actors. More specifically this is accomplished by ‘governing through women’. Here, I demonstrate how state-initiated women’s organising, participation, and ‘self-enhancement’ programs serve to weave together individual responsibility, community-building, and ‘moral’ citizenship in the pursuit of hegemonic interpretations of resilience. By analysing how women qualify, negotiate, and challenge such post-disaster citizenship project, I propose a reconceptualisation of resilience based on a feminist ethics of care.
Kaira Zoe Canete is a PhD Candidate at the School of Social Sciences of the University of New South Wales. Her doctoral dissertation examines disaster recovery and reconstruction from the standpoint of women. She is a recipient of an Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship which supports her studies in Australia.