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Disaster preparedness and the abeyance of agency: Christian responses to Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji


Cox, J and Varea, R and Finau, G and Tarai, J and Kant, R and Titifanue, J and Neef, A, Disaster preparedness and the abeyance of agency: Christian responses to Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji, Anthropological Forum, 30, (1-2) pp. 125-140. ISSN 0066-4677 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The University of Western Australia

DOI: doi:10.1080/00664677.2019.1647833


International practices of disaster preparedness presume human agency, particularly at the household level, as an important pre-emptive response to anticipated natural hazards. Our analysis of Fijian responses to Tropical Cyclone Winston indicates that preparedness is also regarded as important by cyclone survivors but has a moral dimension that can be used to assign blame to underprepared members of the community. However, Fijian villagersí experiences of terror and awe during Tropical Cyclone Winston also make them aware of the limits of human agency, prompting them to reflect on Godís role in the cyclone and the need for collective repentance and renewed Christian commitment. The effectiveness of disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation efforts can only be enhanced by a better understanding of the values of affected communities, including religious and spiritual values. We seek to contribute to this knowledge by showing how disaster preparedness both converges with and diverges from Fijian Christian practices.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:disaster preparedness, Christianity, Fiji, South Pacific, agency
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Anthropology
Research Field:Social and cultural anthropology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on the South Pacific (excl. Australia and New Zealand) (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Finau, G (Dr Glenn Finau)
ID Code:139830
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Accounting and Corporate Governance
Deposited On:2020-07-07
Last Modified:2020-10-16

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