Becoming resilient: Disaster recovery in post-Yolanda Philippines through women’s eyes

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal


It is now well-known that in varying disaster contexts, women bear closely on overall family and community recovery. And yet, despite their critical roles in the aftermath of disaster, knowledge production about recovery has rarely seen the reconstruction process from the perspective of women. Drawing on feminist standpoint theory and feminist political ecology, this thesis contributes to the scholarship on disaster recovery by centring the experiences of women as both a category of analysis and a methodological approach. It advances the idea that women’s situated knowledges of disaster recovery are a powerful starting point to investigate current organised practices through which disaster-affected communities are rebuilt and governed. I argue that women’s everyday realities are an intellectual-political-ethical site for disrupting the powerful circuits of knowledge and practice that articulate pathways of recovery through the notion of resilience. As a feminist research, analysing disaster recovery involves exploring possibilities for reclaiming alternative and more gender-just post-disaster futures. Thus, the central question guiding this research is: What possibilities for reimagining resilience might women’s experiences of recovery reveal? I focus on the reconstruction of Tacloban City, Philippines, after its destruction by typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) in November 2013. To answer my main question, I investigated: 1) how resilience has been inscribed in the institutional and social landscape of Tacloban, and 2) how women qualified, re-appropriated, or contested attempts to build their ‘resilience’ as a way to map out possibilities for alternative pathways of recovery. Primarily utilising PhotoKwento (storytelling with photographs), a feminist method which I designed, this qualitative research focuses on urban poor women’s experiences of disaster resettlement, a key feature of Tacloban’s attempts to ‘build back better’ and build resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of New South Wales
  • Jakimow, Tanya, Supervisor, External person
  • Zwi, Anthony, Supervisor, External person
  • Spurway, Kim, Supervisor, External person
Award date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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