Critical adaptation to hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean

Development visions, governance structures, and coping strategies

David Manuel-Navarrete, Mark Pelling, Michael Redclift

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The need to tackle climate hazards and development efforts simultaneously is widely acknowledged. However, the possibility of alternative visions of development is seldom contemplated. Instead, adaptation research usually assumes monolithic claims about development constructed from the status quo of global capitalism. This paper outlines a critical approach to adaptation and explores the interplay between visions of development, governance structures, and strategies to cope with hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean, a region at the 'front line' of both globalization and climatic extreme phenomena. Critical adaptation formulates the experiencing of hazards as essentially political and tied to contingent development paths, which may eventually become hegemonic. Over a hundred semi-structured and open interviews were held in Cancun, Mahahual, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum including academics, businesspeople, bureaucrats, journalists, non-governmental organizations and tourism workers in order to characterize development visions in the Mexican Caribbean. Findings show a prevalent hegemonic vision supporting mass tourism growth which encourages hurricane coping strategies based on effective evacuation and attracting investments for rapid economic recovery. The actual implementation of this vision increases social inequalities, degrades ecosystems, and amplifies overall exposure to extreme events. Mass tourism is enforced by undemocratic governance structures sustained by a coalition of government and tourism corporations (a government-capital bloc in Gramsci's sense). Some weak signs of counter-hegemony were identified in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Mahahual. These isolated episodes of resistance might have triggered alternative coping strategies despite having little effect in altering the overall course of development. Further critical research is needed to unveil the socio-political foundations of development visions and their influence on capacities to cope with climatic extreme events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

coping strategy
hurricane
coping
tourism
governance
playa
extreme event
hazard
hegemony
capitalism
nongovernmental organization
globalization
Tourism
event
ecosystem
climate
social inequality
economics
journalist
coalition

Keywords

  • Climate adaptation
  • Critical political ecology
  • Hurricane coping
  • Mass tourism
  • Post-development
  • Quintana Roo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

Critical adaptation to hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean : Development visions, governance structures, and coping strategies. / Manuel-Navarrete, David; Pelling, Mark; Redclift, Michael.

In: Global Environmental Change, Vol. 21, No. 1, 02.2011, p. 249-258.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{32c9d62d66be4a689ce04f83fa0bdab7,
title = "Critical adaptation to hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean: Development visions, governance structures, and coping strategies",
abstract = "The need to tackle climate hazards and development efforts simultaneously is widely acknowledged. However, the possibility of alternative visions of development is seldom contemplated. Instead, adaptation research usually assumes monolithic claims about development constructed from the status quo of global capitalism. This paper outlines a critical approach to adaptation and explores the interplay between visions of development, governance structures, and strategies to cope with hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean, a region at the 'front line' of both globalization and climatic extreme phenomena. Critical adaptation formulates the experiencing of hazards as essentially political and tied to contingent development paths, which may eventually become hegemonic. Over a hundred semi-structured and open interviews were held in Cancun, Mahahual, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum including academics, businesspeople, bureaucrats, journalists, non-governmental organizations and tourism workers in order to characterize development visions in the Mexican Caribbean. Findings show a prevalent hegemonic vision supporting mass tourism growth which encourages hurricane coping strategies based on effective evacuation and attracting investments for rapid economic recovery. The actual implementation of this vision increases social inequalities, degrades ecosystems, and amplifies overall exposure to extreme events. Mass tourism is enforced by undemocratic governance structures sustained by a coalition of government and tourism corporations (a government-capital bloc in Gramsci's sense). Some weak signs of counter-hegemony were identified in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Mahahual. These isolated episodes of resistance might have triggered alternative coping strategies despite having little effect in altering the overall course of development. Further critical research is needed to unveil the socio-political foundations of development visions and their influence on capacities to cope with climatic extreme events.",
keywords = "Climate adaptation, Critical political ecology, Hurricane coping, Mass tourism, Post-development, Quintana Roo",
author = "David Manuel-Navarrete and Mark Pelling and Michael Redclift",
year = "2011",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.09.009",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "21",
pages = "249--258",
journal = "Global Environmental Change",
issn = "0959-3780",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Critical adaptation to hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean

T2 - Development visions, governance structures, and coping strategies

AU - Manuel-Navarrete, David

AU - Pelling, Mark

AU - Redclift, Michael

PY - 2011/2

Y1 - 2011/2

N2 - The need to tackle climate hazards and development efforts simultaneously is widely acknowledged. However, the possibility of alternative visions of development is seldom contemplated. Instead, adaptation research usually assumes monolithic claims about development constructed from the status quo of global capitalism. This paper outlines a critical approach to adaptation and explores the interplay between visions of development, governance structures, and strategies to cope with hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean, a region at the 'front line' of both globalization and climatic extreme phenomena. Critical adaptation formulates the experiencing of hazards as essentially political and tied to contingent development paths, which may eventually become hegemonic. Over a hundred semi-structured and open interviews were held in Cancun, Mahahual, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum including academics, businesspeople, bureaucrats, journalists, non-governmental organizations and tourism workers in order to characterize development visions in the Mexican Caribbean. Findings show a prevalent hegemonic vision supporting mass tourism growth which encourages hurricane coping strategies based on effective evacuation and attracting investments for rapid economic recovery. The actual implementation of this vision increases social inequalities, degrades ecosystems, and amplifies overall exposure to extreme events. Mass tourism is enforced by undemocratic governance structures sustained by a coalition of government and tourism corporations (a government-capital bloc in Gramsci's sense). Some weak signs of counter-hegemony were identified in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Mahahual. These isolated episodes of resistance might have triggered alternative coping strategies despite having little effect in altering the overall course of development. Further critical research is needed to unveil the socio-political foundations of development visions and their influence on capacities to cope with climatic extreme events.

AB - The need to tackle climate hazards and development efforts simultaneously is widely acknowledged. However, the possibility of alternative visions of development is seldom contemplated. Instead, adaptation research usually assumes monolithic claims about development constructed from the status quo of global capitalism. This paper outlines a critical approach to adaptation and explores the interplay between visions of development, governance structures, and strategies to cope with hurricanes in the Mexican Caribbean, a region at the 'front line' of both globalization and climatic extreme phenomena. Critical adaptation formulates the experiencing of hazards as essentially political and tied to contingent development paths, which may eventually become hegemonic. Over a hundred semi-structured and open interviews were held in Cancun, Mahahual, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum including academics, businesspeople, bureaucrats, journalists, non-governmental organizations and tourism workers in order to characterize development visions in the Mexican Caribbean. Findings show a prevalent hegemonic vision supporting mass tourism growth which encourages hurricane coping strategies based on effective evacuation and attracting investments for rapid economic recovery. The actual implementation of this vision increases social inequalities, degrades ecosystems, and amplifies overall exposure to extreme events. Mass tourism is enforced by undemocratic governance structures sustained by a coalition of government and tourism corporations (a government-capital bloc in Gramsci's sense). Some weak signs of counter-hegemony were identified in Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Mahahual. These isolated episodes of resistance might have triggered alternative coping strategies despite having little effect in altering the overall course of development. Further critical research is needed to unveil the socio-political foundations of development visions and their influence on capacities to cope with climatic extreme events.

KW - Climate adaptation

KW - Critical political ecology

KW - Hurricane coping

KW - Mass tourism

KW - Post-development

KW - Quintana Roo

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78751701487&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78751701487&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.09.009

DO - 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.09.009

M3 - Article

VL - 21

SP - 249

EP - 258

JO - Global Environmental Change

JF - Global Environmental Change

SN - 0959-3780

IS - 1

ER -