23 SES 13 D, Community Education and the Politics of Resilience: Germany, Japan and New Zealand
‘Community resilience’ is a buzzword in social policy, however, there is little consensus about the definition, how it should look in practice, or how communities should be trained to be resilient, and it is rarely considered from an educational point of view. This paper reports on contradictions in understandings of community resilience in Christchurch, New Zealand, 3-4 years after the devastating earthquake of March 2011. It explores how discourses of community resilience are employed by different actors as part of the social, cultural and economic recovery process, and the implications for inclusion and exclusion of different social groups from this process. Community resilience in this paper is innovatively understood as a ‘public pedagogy’, a type of learning and training which takes place in both formal and informal settings, including public policy, media and culture, lifelong learning approaches and social activism. It also draws on Klein’s theory of disaster capitalism (2007). The paper analyses interview data gathered for a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which explored how populations learn for disaster resilience. It compares the responses of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, and the local education authorities on the one hand, and evidence from the Red Cross and local volunteer organisations on the other. It argues that paradoxically the tools employed by the authorities which aim to promote community resilience, including a poster campaign and support for new initiatives in schooling, function to promote a neoliberal politics which in fact exclude many communities, and fail to recognise some community responses as resilience. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the Christchurch experiences for disaster education and pedagogies of community resilience worldwide.
Klein, N. (2008) Shock Doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. London: Penguin.
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