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On the edge of paradise: Living with cyclones in Far North Queensland, Australia

Swee, Hannah; (2017) On the edge of paradise: Living with cyclones in Far North Queensland, Australia. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis is an ethnography of how people live with recurring disaster threats in Far North Queensland, a region in the north east of Australia where cyclones are part of the annual cycle of weather. For the people who inhabit this region, cyclones occur amidst a landscape of natural beauty and thus living with cyclones is described as “living in paradise” where hell happens intermittently. In the past two decades, the interest in understanding how people live with hazards and disasters has grown significantly and a large volume of literature now exists addressing the social dimensions of hazards and disasters from a wide variety of disciplines. However, the majority of this literature focuses on single catastrophic events. This thesis seeks to provide new insights into the study of hazards and disasters by focusing on a region that experiences disaster threats as regular, annual occurrences that are anticipated. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with coastal dwelling communities in Far North Queensland this thesis argues that living with cyclones is a process that involves a variety of different activities, decisions and strategies, many of which are so intertwined and manifested in the mundane practices of everyday life that they cease to be acknowledged. Developing this argument involves a reflection on how the weather and climate are perceived, the way that uncertainty and risk is dealt with and negotiated, and ultimately how such negotiations lead to the choice to stay in a cyclone-prone place. By tracing how people live with cyclones in Far North Queensland, this thesis suggests that cyclones are known in multiple ways and their meanings are subject to change with time. Thus, cyclones are both catastrophic disasters and events that become a normal part of life

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: On the edge of paradise: Living with cyclones in Far North Queensland, Australia
Event: UCL
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1575407
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