Manuel Tironi and Sarah Kelly draw attention to the ways in which Indigenous communities in Chile are leveraging Territorial Control to prevent the spread of Covid-19 for the “Covid-19 and the Social Sciences” series. Rather than relying on the logics of epidemiology to support these preventive actions, communities are appealing to the logics of sovereignty. While cautious about the temptation to draw simplistic and extractive “lessons learned” for Disaster Risk Reduction from the actions of the Mapuche and other Indigenous peoples, the authors describe how the lessons to be learned are about the need to decolonize disaster response, and to acknowledge the deep histories and shared knowledge that can provide communities with the resources to make effective public health and safety decisions for their people.
Manuel Tironi is an associate professor and co-convener of the Critical Studies on the Anthropocene group at the Universidad Católica de Chile. He is a principal investigator at the Center for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Reduction (CIGIDEN). His work leverages the environmental humanities, cultural anthropology, and science studies to investigate how environmental justice, more-than-human ethics, and disasters are imagined and articulated in the context of climate change. He co-edited Disaster and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness (with Israel Rodriguez-Giralt and Michael Guggenheim; Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), and the forthcoming a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/thinking-with-soils-9781350109599/#:~:text=About%20Thinking%20with%20Soils&text=Bringing%20together%20new%20modes%20of,to%20address%20global%20ecological%20change." target="_blank">Thinking with Soils: Material Politics and Social Theory (with Juan Francisco Salazar, Céline Granjou, Matthew Kearnes, and Anna Krzywoszynska; Bloomsbury, 2020). Working with Indigenous communities in northern Chile, his current project examines alternative theories and practices for ecological reparation at the intersection of extractivism and geo-climatic disruptions.