From Strangers to Neighbors: Post-Disaster Resettlement and Community Building in Honduras, byRyan Alaniz. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017. 196 pp. ISBN: 9781477314098.

Angelo Jonas Imperiale*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewAcademic

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    With his book, From Strangers to Neighbors: Post-Disaster Resettlement and Community Building in Honduras, Ryan Alaniz provides a valuable contribution to disaster and development theory and practice. He analyzes disaster-induced resettlement implemented in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. In addition to infrastructure and economic livelihoods, he asks which mechanisms and characteristics are necessary to support the development of resettlement into a “healthy community”. This article is a review of Alaniz’s book that also aims to suggest few questions which remain unanswered and can be of inspiration for future research. Why “from strangers to neighbors” rather than “from affected neighbors to resilient neighbors”? What happened to previous neighborly relationships, and should these be recovered as soon as possible, or does “building back better communities” mean building new communities elsewhere? And, finally, who should implement empowerment strategies for more resilient neighbors, and how should these strategies be designed and implemented before and after disasters? While structural failures of both top-down, state-based and NGO approaches keep being reported in post-disaster interventions and resettlement, there is an urgent need for new institutional arrangements and deliberative spaces that would help better understand, recognize, engage and empower the role local communities play in the context of a global risk landscape, before and after disasters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)511-513
    Number of pages3
    JournalContemporary sociology-A journal of reviews
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 11-Sep-2019


    • Community Wellbeing
    • Community Resilience
    • Community Development
    • Disaster management
    • Resettlement
    • Disaster risk reduction
    • Social impact assessment
    • neighborhood

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