Disasters connected to natural hazards can at the same time be unfolding events, as well as structural phenomena with unequal disaster risk constructed over an extended timespan. Hence, in disaster studies, temporality and spatiality are central, yet often implicit, concepts employed to make sense of the disaster phenomena. In this article we explicitly focus on temporality and spatiality within qualitative disaster studies, particularly those containing ethnographic elements. We use Doreen Massey’s idea of space-time trajectories to analyze and illustrate how in qualitative disaster studies the trajectories of the disaster, research participants, and the researcher entangle in diverse ways. The focus is on how temporality and spatiality are present in the construction of data. The article is mainly conceptual, with illustrations drawn from empirical fieldwork on Valparaíso fire of 2014 in Chile. We interrogate how researchers’ sensitivity to temporality and spatiality challenges the conventional notions and practices of “data” in qualitative disaster studies. The focus in this article is on disaster studies, but it also offers methodological insights to other social sciences that strive to conduct research in the era of “Anthropocene,” with all its shifts and changes, the root causes of which have built over a long time.
- Disaster studies
- Qualitative disaster research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Safety Research
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law