Scientific controversy as a disaster risk factor: The 2007 seismic crisis in Patagonia, Chile

Marin, Juliette; Cortes, Julian; Aliste, Enrique; Campos, Jaime


In 2007, a sequence of geophysical events occurred in Chilean Patagonia that manifested themselves in a series of earthquakes and a fjord tsunami, causing many months of disruption to the normal functioning of a region not known for seismic activity. Panic and uncertainty spread throughout the population and calls were made for an effective response and implementation of risk management plans. The geophysical events sparked a management crisis and subsequent socio-political conflict with mass demonstrations. The present study explores this territorial conflict and seeks to identify institutional practices connected to disaster risk in Chile. Centralism, a lack of trust in the authorities, scant availability to the community of scientific information about local geo-hazards, and territorial heterogeneity are among the structural elements identified. This conflict was explained by the various public actors in charge of the response as the consequence of a scientific controversy. We therefore question the links between knowledge production and dissemination. The study approaches the phenomenon from the point of view of the 'experts' - that is, those in possession of technical knowledge - before studying the handling of information and associated uncertainty. An analysis of the discourses and interventions on the part of public, scientific and technical figures, authorities, media outlets, official reports, communities and local residents confirms that information about disaster risk, communication of same, and the scientific communication were risk factors. From this case study, we argue in favour of changes in scientific knowledge governance and integration of local knowledge for effective disaster risk reduction.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000572973300002 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 49
Editorial: Elsevier
Fecha de publicación: 2020


Notas: ISI