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The ‘state of exception’ and disaster education: a multilevel conceptual framework with implications for social justice

Preston, J and Chadderton, C and Kitagawa, K (2014) 'The ‘state of exception’ and disaster education: a multilevel conceptual framework with implications for social justice.' Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12 (4). pp. 437-456. ISSN 1476-7724

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The term ‘state of exception’ has been used by Italian political theorist Giorgio Agamben to explain the ways in which emergencies, crises and disasters are used by governments to suspend legal processes. In this paper, we innovatively apply Agamben’s theory to the way in which countries prepare and educate the population for various types of emergencies. We focus on two main aspects of Agamben’s work: first, the paradoxical nature of the state of exception, as both a transient and a permanent part of governance. Second, it is a ‘liminal’ concept expressing the limits of law and where ‘law’ meets ‘not-law’. We consider the relationship between laws related to disasters and emergencies, and case studies of the ways in which three countries (England, Germany and Japan) educate their populations for crisis and disaster. In England, we consider how emergency powers have been orientated around the protection of the Critical National Infrastructure and how this has produced localised ‘states of exception’ and, relatedly, pedagogical anomalies. In Germany, we consider the way in which laws related to disaster and civil protection, and the nature of volunteering for civil protection, produce exceptional spaces for non-German bodies. In Japan, we consider the debate around the absence of emergency powers and relate this to Japanese non-exceptional disaster education for natural disasters. Applying Agamben’s work, we conclude by developing a new, multilevel empirical framework for analysing disaster education with implications for social justice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: education, disasters, state of exception, comparative, qualitative
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2018 14:51
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:46

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