Theses Doctoral

Catastrophe and state building: lessons from Chile's seismic history

Gil Ureta, Magdalena Sofia

Catastrophes are usually seen as a threat to a country’s stability and progress. Some countries are regarded as prepared to face them and ready to deal with the consequences, but still, a disaster is always presented at the very least as an inconvenience. Contrary to this line of thinking, this dissertation shows that catastrophes can present an opportunity for state-building. Catastrophes, and the profound sense of insecurity they cause, force institutions to demonstrate their adeptness, or change. Specifically, catastrophes challenge state power because they test its basic role as protector from physical harm. Consequently, when disaster happens the state is put to the test. States that arise triumphant from this challenge may use the opportunity to increase its strength and develop new capacities.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Barkey, Karen
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 16, 2016