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Expanding the transdisciplinary conversation towards pluriversal distributive disaster recovery: development ethics and interculturality

Johannes M. Waldmüller (Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 13 September 2021

Issue publication date: 2 June 2022




From a Latin American decolonial and transdisciplinary perspective, this article expands the increasingly relevant conversation about disaster ethics, not only in depth and scope but also both interdisciplinarily and interculturally. By reviewing key points of development ethics that are closely related but underexplored, it makes the case for focusing on disaster recovery as a relevant distributive phase for improving future prevention and mitigation, while remedying long-standing injustices.


To do so, against the backdrop of recently emerging postcolonial, decolonial and structural approaches to disaster and vulnerability studies, the article presents a theoretical conversation between decolonial studies, development ethics, intercultural practice and philosophy, and disaster ethics beyond utilitarian approaches.


So far, development and disaster ethics remain worlds apart, despite their relevant convergence around the key notion of “recovery” and its underlying normative determination. This article identifies that prevailing utilitarian ethics in emergency response, in addition to their problematic universalization, have prevented further engagement with deontological and process-based principles, including a nuanced distributive sensitivity. As a result of such cross-fertilization, methodological individualism in an intercultural encounter is suggested, as well as continued engagement with pluriversal deliberation about key ethical values and notions regarding disaster risk and response.


Calling for distributive bottom-up engagement beyond professional and academic boundaries, this article presents a new direction for decolonising disaster ethics, so far unexplored, seeking to bridge the value gap between development and disaster efforts, planning and prevention.



Waldmüller, J.M. (2022), "Expanding the transdisciplinary conversation towards pluriversal distributive disaster recovery: development ethics and interculturality", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 319-332.



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