A reading of the social capital literature suggests that the networks and the social relationships which enable collective action can be used to address critical livelihood needs, even in disaster contexts. Yet even when such community-led approaches are combined with substantial resources, too often these interventions (re)produce vulnerabilities without recovering prior levels of development. Examining the outcomes of community-led approaches in post-tsunami Aceh after the gaze of the aid industry has moved elsewhere, this paper finds that in a few cases, interventions worked with social networks to revive livelihoods successfully, albeit in complex, contingent ways. Yet, given the nature of post-disaster contexts and the exigencies driving NGO and donors actions, the research concludes that the capacity for community based approaches to address the underlying drivers of vulnerability remains limited. The paper calls for a rewriting of intervention narratives and a reworking of intervention practices, to address the deeper determinants of disadvantage and vulnerability.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.