• Institution:
    Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

Research on Coping With Vulnerability to Environmental Risk (RECOVER): A case study for a theory on sustainability after the tsunami disaster in the Nicobar Islands

The project deals with investigation viable future options for the indigenous population of the Andaman Nicobar archipelago after the 2004 tsunami disaster. The aim of the applicants research proposal is to generate scientific support for the planning, implementation and evaluation of reconstruction and development options for the indigenous population of the Andaman-Nicobar archipelago that maintain their social and cultural integrity, within a unique window of opportunity provided by the availability of substantial international funds. The research provides a further case study for an emerging theory of sustainability transitions by using the new dynamics triggered as a consequence of the tsunami disaster to better understand the interplay of natural, cultural and institutional features in determining vulnerability and coping capacity of local socio-ecological systems. This case study is particularly relevant in consideration of the (destructive) fate foraging people commonly suffer when they become subject to outside influences. Methodologically, we strive for a more systematic link between functional tools (material and energy flow and land use analysis, MEFA) and tools dealing with meaning,  human preferences and choice (ethnographic tools and stakeholder processes), or, in other words, develop methods to relate emic and etic descriptions in participative decision making.