The Temporality of Disaster: Data, the Emergency, and Climate Change

Forthcoming (2020) Anthropocenes

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 20-43

31 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2020

See all articles by Caroline Compton

Caroline Compton

Western Sydney University; University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Climate change threatens to destabilise existing humanitarian temporalities, particularly the idea of ‘building back better’. Building back better, which involves reducing vulnerability to future harm, depends on our being able to predict, to at least some extent, what the future like. Climate change, however, destabilises our predictive abilities and thus limits our ability to adequately respond to future risk. In response, there is an increased emphasis on resilience, adaptive capacity, and self-survival. At the same time, the data tools used by humanitarian actors to manage environmental risk focus attention on the present moment, rather than understanding the historical drivers of risk or invigorating new imaginings of the future. Both climate change and humanitarian digital data tools reinforce a focus on an always unfolding present.

Keywords: Climate change, big data, temporality, humanitarianism, resilience, build back better

Suggested Citation

Compton, Caroline, The Temporality of Disaster: Data, the Emergency, and Climate Change (2020). Forthcoming (2020) Anthropocenes, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 20-43, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3677690

Caroline Compton (Contact Author)

Western Sydney University ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2751
Australia

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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