chapter
Introduction
Pages 1

Introduction Emerging discourses such as DRAaM have mirrored the dialectics of South Africa’s transition, from one illegitimate political economy based on racialist modes of governing to another founded upon aspects of neoliberalism. This has been evidenced by the country’s notorious political history and the relative lack of meaningful change for many South Africans after apartheid. Such an assertion, however, requires additional support in analyses of the particular currently implicated discourse. Institutionalisation has rendered a particular commodifi cation of disaster reduction, founded upon generic operationalisation of DRAaM code and associated technologies. This has rendered various products, packages and promotional strategies designed to meet convenient interpretations of legislative compliance. With commodifi ed expertise there came totalisation with which, in the case of DRAaM, I wish to argue, came the imposition of a foreign ontology. Such imposition is inevitable considering relationship between knowledge and power, as explicated in the previously cited work of Michel Foucault. In addition, I do wish to heed Blaser’s (2013) general argument that any analysis already includes within it an idea of how things should be. As such, different accounts of particular phenomena by for example researchers or residents enact different worlds, worlds that are often in confl ict with one another, though typically enacted in conjunction with an asymmetrical distribution of agency (Blaser, 2013:552). Hitherto, dominant perspectives have been informed by appropriations of difference under an all-encompassing modernity. Political ontology is concerned with how and why certain worlds are enacted and others not and how to enact more useful worlds. The institutionalisation of DRAaM, a universalising modern discourse, in South Africa has been accompanied by a set of politicised though unarticulated ontological assumptions that translate into ritualised practices with unfavourable implications for knowledge production.