A supercyclone, landscapes of ‘emptiness’ and shrimp aquaculture: the lesser-known trajectories of disaster recovery in coastal Odisha, India

Chhotray, Vasudha (2022) A supercyclone, landscapes of ‘emptiness’ and shrimp aquaculture: the lesser-known trajectories of disaster recovery in coastal Odisha, India. World Development, 153. ISSN 0305-750X

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Abstract

This paper critically examines the reconfiguration of post-supercyclone Ersama in coastal Odisha in India, to encourage the introduction of a new form of shrimp aquaculture as the principal livelihood. It demonstrates the operation of a powerful shared construction of Ersama, a typically paddy cultivating area, as a landscape rendered ‘empty’ and ‘unproductive’ by the supercyclone of 1999. The paper shows how this notion, shared by locals and external actors, facilitates the entry of the forces of commercial aquaculture at the cost of increased socio-economic inequalities and risk-taking for the poorest participants, as well as the exclusion of women from this new livelihood. Memories of previous disastrous attempts at shrimp culture are obliterated through misleading narratives about the potent productivity of a new type of shrimp by the proponents of aquaculture. The state has presided through uneven regulation, disregarding the damaging effects of commercial aquaculture for the coastal environment. The paper argues that besides the provision of disaster relief, the state restricts its own responsibilities towards disaster prone and affected populations to the creation of warning systems and physical infrastructures. However, it assigns the broader challenge of disaster recovery to ongoing processes of capitalist development. Even as the resulting precarity, both economic and environmental, threaten long-term and inclusive recovery, the state delinks disaster recovery from questions of structural risk resulting from exclusionary development pathways, depoliticising it considerably.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Author acknowledgements: This paper draws on research over 10 years (2009–2019) funded respectively by the British Academy (Small Research Grant 2009 and the Recovery with Dignity Project 2018–2020) and UNDP, India (2010). I am grateful to the School of International Development, UEA, for supporting my research through regular sabbaticals. Many people have contributed to the learning that has informed this paper. Joe Hill, Rajib Biswal and Sudhanshu Behera deserve special mention for their partnership and research support in the earlier part of this period. More recent collaborators have given me new opportunities to revisit my field sites and been ever generous with their ideas. I am grateful to Gargi Sen for her research support for the study of aquaculture in Odisha. Special thanks to Garima Jain, Chandni Singh, Roger Few, Aditya Valiathan Pillai and Gaurav Bansal for their careful reading of an earlier draft. I also warmly thank the two reviewers of this paper for their insightful observations. Last but not the least, I would like to acknowledge the many kind people and officials of Ersama who have received me with patience throughout.
Uncontrolled Keywords: aquaculture,cyclone,disasters,india,recovery,risk,geography, planning and development,development,sociology and political science,economics and econometrics ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3305
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2022 09:30
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 08:32
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/83089
DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.105823

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