Natural disasters reconstruct the self: a thematic analysis of youth survivors’ narratives about typhoon Haiyan

Delante, Nimrod (2019) Natural disasters reconstruct the self: a thematic analysis of youth survivors’ narratives about typhoon Haiyan. Nalans: Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 7 (13). pp. 113-129.

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People can create vivid images about a natural disaster that has caused them pain and suffering. Just as people do this, natural disasters also have the capacity to reconstruct people’s sense of self. We discovered this through listening to the youth survivors of typhoon Haiyan and understanding their narratives about the disaster. This study attempted to answer two research questions: (1) How do the youth survivors view Haiyan? (2) How do these views reconstruct themselves? We used in-depth interviews to capture the survivors’ narratives and we utilised thematic analysis in analysing those narratives guided by grounded theory. We found that the youth respondents had created striking images about typhoon Haiyan. These include a wild beast or a Godzilla, Noah’s Ark, a bulldozer, a nuclear bomb and a thief which suggest a predominant idea: that Haiyan was catastrophic. Surprisingly, viewing Haiyan as twist of fate and blessing in disguise suggests that the youths were reflective of their own conditions. How did these images help in reconstructing themselves? Firstly, they helped the youth survivors in building a culture of self-education and sense of agency. Secondly, they helped them build a sense of resilience. Lastly, they enabled them to strengthen their faith.

Item ID: 62237
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2148-4066
Keywords: Haiyan, natural disaster, narratives, thematic analysis, reconstruction, self
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2020 22:33
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4499 Other human society > 449901 Studies of Asian society @ 50%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4799 Other language, communication and culture > 479999 Other language, communication and culture not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950202 Languages and Literacy @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 50%
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