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Rethinking Risk and Disasters in Mountain Areas

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Year of publication2012
Author(s)Kenneth Hewitt
Co-authorsManjari Mehta
Languageen, fr
JournalRevue de géographie alpine - Journal of Alpine Research
Publication typeJournal article
This chapter presents a view of risk and disaster in the mountains that finds them fully a part of public safety issues in modern states and developments, rather than separated from them. This contrasts with prevailing approaches to disaster focused on natural hazards, “unscheduled” or extreme events, and emergency preparedness; approaches strongly reinforced by mountain stereotypes. Rather, we find the legacies of social and economic histories, especially relations to down-country or metropolitan actors, are decisive in shaping contemporary “mountain realities”. Developments in transportation, resource extraction and tourism that serve state and international agendas can increase rather than reduce risks for mountain populations, and undermine pre-existing strategies to minimise environmental dangers.