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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Natural Hazard Mitigation Strategies Review: Actor Network Theory and the Eco-Based Approach Understanding in Zimbabwe

Anyway Katanha, Danny Simatele

University of Witwatersrand, Dept. of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, South Africa


This paper presents the literature reviewed on the evolution of the natural hazard mitigation perspective and an overview of its progression to date. It demonstrates how the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) theoretical framework can be applicable to Muzarabani in Zimbabwe as a tool for analysing and elaborating hazard mitigation strategies. ANT is gradually becoming influential, but still a bone of contention mainly because of its radical approach. ANT treats humans and non-humans as equal actors. In spite of its limitation, studies have shown that an ANT grounded approach is useful in providing a framework for the comprehension of the complexities of daily life during natural hazard episodes and the dynamic role of Ziziphus mauritiana in the network in Muzarabani of Zimbabwe. The theory can demonstrate its importance in respect of how social results are produced as a result of linkages among diverse actors (human and non-human) in a network. The chief significance of this consideration is that ANT offers a lens through which to assess the role of Ziziphus mauritiana as an actor in determining social processes and relations. Attention to this decisive role can contribute to an all-inclusive appreciation of the complexity of actors in semi-arid regions. Ziziphus mauritiana, an eco-resource, like other non-human phenomena, is introduced as an important and neglected actor in natural hazard mitigation discourse. Literature accessed has also affirmed that ANT can also demonstrate the dual value of rendering a theoretically informed method of sampling by mapping on actors that are linked to the eco-resource in question, Ziziphus mauritiana and analysis. The paper draws on contemporary empirical work in Muzarabani and the recurrent nature of natural hazards in this semi-arid landscape to explain noticeable results of the interactions between the human and non-human actors in hazard mitigation. The paper argues that if ANT is used logically it is useful in examining eco-based natural hazard mitigation approaches in semi-arid regions.

Keywords: Actor network theory, adaptation, commodity chain frameworks, ecological, hazard mitigation

Contact Address: Anyway Katanha, University of Witwatersrand, Dept. of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue Braamfontein 2000, Johannesburg, South Africa, e-mail: 1094817@students.wits.ac.za

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