Integrative Studies of Science, Religion and Culture on Disaster
The rise of natural disasters in Indonesia in recent years ranging from tsunamis, earthquakes, erosion, floods, mudflows, volcanic eruptions, droughts, forest fires, tornadoes and others increase the need for a thorough review of the disaster. Natural science approach that has been dominant in the view of disaster is considered not sufficient to help us understand and act appropriately in disaster prevention and mitigation. Thus, it takes a more holistic approach in assessing disaster than from the perspective of science that is religion and culture.
The need to obtain a comprehensive assessment towards the disaster has encouraged Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS) to launch a competitive grant titled, “Interpretation and Response to Disasters: Integrative Studies of Science, Religion and Culture” in 2008. Through a variety of approaches, there have been interesting things found relating to disasters that can enrich our understanding. For instance, from the perspective of religion there are a range of views ranging from the view of scholars, religious institutions up to study religious scriptures of the disaster that also affect the diversity of response to disasters. From the cultural perspective, there are a variety of interpretations and responses based on local wisdom. Findings of field research grants two series of the same name is then recorded in a three book series “Agama dan Bencana” (Religion and Disaster).
The first book titled Agama, Budaya dan Bencana (Religion, Culture and Disaster), presents the diversity of perspectives in understanding disasters, ranging from the religious perspective to the local culture. Through the study of religious law, religious institutions, and local practices, the researchers tried to show how the religious and cultural perspectives used by various sectors of society to understand and explains the disaster. In fact in some ways, the perspective is intertwined, so that it is difficult to determine whether that is a religious perspective or the perspective of the local culture. At the same time, researchers showed the potential of religious and local communities that can be used to build the foundations of a disaster resilient community.
The second book, Respon Masyarakat Lokal atas Bencana (The Response of Local Communities on Disaster), explores the understanding and resilience of the community built on local knowledge systems, as well as examines the possibility of bringing a scientific approach and the local culture. The case examples drawn from a variety of cases in Indonesia shows that society has a system of knowledge coming from long experience of interaction with the environment. Social systems sometimes also have been adapted to the natural gestures. Because of its deep-rooted, indigenous perspectives will provide a strong foundation in building disaster resilient communities more participatory.
The third book, Konstruksi Masyarakat Tangguh Bencana (Construction of Resilient Disaster Community), is more technical with emphasis on the practical development of disaster resilient communities. For example, the writing of Sudibyanto et al. provides a framework ranging from community capacity building, disaster education, disaster to the media socialization that contains workflow coordination of emergency response is very technical. Several papers in this volume present the case examples showing the various regions anticipating technical community in preventing disaster.