Video abstract – Kevin Grove talks about 'Adaptation Machines and the Parasitic Politics of Life in Jamaican Disaster Resilience'

Antipode 46:3, our June 2014 issue, went to the publishers last week; it includes…

The Spirits are Crying: Dispossessing Land and Possessing Bodies in Rural Cambodia by Alice Beban and Courtney Work;

The Hollowing Out of Brazilian Metropolitan Governance As We Know It: Restructuring and Rescaling the Developmental State in Metropolitan Space by Jeroen Klink;

Agamben, Postcoloniality, and Sovereignty in South Korea by Seung-Ook Lee, Najeeb Jan and Joel Wainwright;

Digging Into the Creative City: A Feminist Critique by Heather McLean;

Neoliberal Reason and Its Forms: De-Politicisation Through Economisation by Yahya M. Madra and Fikret Adaman;

Narratives of Modernity, Masculinity, and Citizenship Amid Crisis in Abidjan’s Sorbonne by Jordanna Matlon;

White But Not Quite: Normalizing Colonial Conquests Through Spatial Mimicry by Mori Ram;

Disrupted Futures: Unpacking Metaphors of Marginalization in Eviction and Resettlement Narratives by Kavita Ramakrishnan;

Extinction is the Dream of Modern Powers: Bearing Witness to the Return to Life of the Sinixt Peoples? by Sean Robertson;

New-Build Gentrification and the Everyday Displacement of Polish Immigrant Tenants in Greenpoint, Brooklyn by Filip Stabrowski;

“If we don’t push homeless people out, we will end up being pushed out by them”: The Criminalization of Homelessness as State Strategy in Hungary by Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi;

Barrio Women’s Invited and Invented Spaces Against Urban Elitisation in Chacao, Venezuela by Juan Velásquez-Atehortúa; and

Adaptation Machines and the Parasitic Politics of Life in Jamaican Disaster Resilience by Kevin J. Grove.

Here Kevin discusses his paper, which unpacks a politics of life at the heart of community-based disaster management to advance a new understanding of resilience politics. Through an institutional ethnography of participatory resilience programming in Kingston, Jamaica, it explores how staff in Jamaica’s national disaster management agency engaged with a qualitatively distinct form of collective life in Kingston’s garrison districts. Garrison life has been shaped by the confluence of political economic, cultural, geopolitical force relations, which creates a hyper-adaptive life that exceeds the techniques and rationalities of neoliberal disaster resilience. Drawing on autonomist Marxist and Deleuzian readings of biopolitics, Kevin identifies a new subject of disaster politics that he calls, after Deleuze and Guattari, “adaptation machines” – decentralized apparatuses of capture that are parasitically reliant on the population’s immanent adaptive capacities. The concept of adaptation machines, Kevin contends, enables us to envision resilience politics as a struggle over how to appropriate vulnerable peoples’ world-forming constituent power.

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Kevin is a lecturer in the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University. His research covers environmental security; geopolitics and development; vulnerability, adaptation and resilience; and Caribbean political economy, exploring the construction of global liberal order, actual catastrophic ‘natural’ events and fears of future calamities. As well as Antipode, Kevin’s work has been published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Resilience, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and Geoforum, among other places.