Book Review: Why Vulnerability Still Matters – The Politics of Disaster Risk Creation

Why Vulnerability Still Matters -The Politics of Disaster Risk Creation, Edited by Greg Bankoff and Dorothea Hilhorst. Routledge, 2022. Softcover, 240 pp. List price: $35.96, ISBN 9781032113432

Reviewer: Jono Anzalone, EdD, Nonprofit Leader and Disaster Expert

Why Vulnerability Still Matters -The Politics of Disaster Risk Creation provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of vulnerability, disaster risk, and political systems. The book’s three sections build upon each other quite nicely in first understanding 1) why vulnerability ability still matters 2) how  vulnerability, conflict, and state-society relations manifest, and 3) understanding topical areas of disaster risk of creation.The lead author, Bankoff, brings more than 30 years of research and understanding of community resilience and risk analysis led to finding an all-star set of contributors that add richness and depth to each of the topical areas. The co-editor, Dorothea Hilhorst, also brings extensive humanitarian experience and research on the topics of humanitarian accountability and conflict.

The 17 contributing authors in the text make up extensive experience and richness in each of the chapters stemming from how disaster risk is created to call disaster risk relates to gendered vulnerability. On the topic of gender, the editors did a phenomenal job ensuring a diverse perspective of genders from the contributing authors. Equally important is the diverse geographical representation that each of the contributors represents. One area of improvement for the text is to increase the inclusion of lived experiences from the global south, which would add contextual relevance to the topic of memorability and disaster risk creation.

Overall, I believe this text would be a great read as a supplementary text for upper-level undergraduate courses and graduate education. The textbook price of $35.96 for the paperback or electronic book copy for the same price creates an economically accessible price point for inclusion in course materials. I also recommend this text for practitioners in the field and headquarters environment to better understand the politics of disaster risk creation.

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