Profile

Illner, Peer, Dr.


illner (at) normativeorders [Punkt] net

Contact

  • Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
    Normative Orders, Cluster of Excellence
    2.21
    Max-Horkheimer-Straße 2
    60323, Frankfurt am Main

    Sprechzeiten:
    Nach Vereinbarung

Tel. +49 69 798-31514

Projects and Positions in the Cluster

    Programming period 2012-2019

  • Post Docs

Research topic

Criticism and Calamity: From Critical Disaster Studies to a Critique of Disaster

Brief description of research topic

The project examines the modifications to American disaster management in the second half of the 20th century, diagnosing a seminal shift in the responsibility for relief. Since the inception of disaster studies in academia after WWII, two kinds of actors have been identified in disasters. On the one hand, disasters involve formal actors, such as professional aid workers employed by state-run relief agencies; on the other hand, disasters involve informal actors, including disaster victims, volunteers, and social movements. While in the immediate post-war years the role of the expert in disaster mitigation was valorised, since the 1970s there has been a change in emphasis toward a more horizontal type of disaster relief that champions grassroots initiatives and the bottom-up organising of social movements as the preferred methods to combat disaster. Once construed as strictly a responsibility of the state, the mitigation and management of disasters has shifted into a matter for civil society: a shift which has been heralded as progressive, democratic and inclusive by existing disaster research.

My project argues that the perspective that valorises the participation of actors from civil society in the fight against disasters fails to grasp the systematic reconfiguration of social life that has taken place in the last decades of the 20th century. Focussing on the modifications to disaster management in the United States between 1970 and 2016, I show how the inclusion of civil society in the provision of aid services was accompanied by a structural withdrawal of the state from disaster relief and other welfare services, corresponding to the US government’s general turn to austerity in response to the economic crisis of the 1970s. While on the state level, specialist authority on disasters is relinquished and the vernacular skills and capacities of the people are drawn on during emergencies, on the level of civil society, this inclusion is complicated by rising social exclusion, indexed by the US state’s turn to austerity, following American deindustrialisation.

My account contributes to the research goals of the Excellence Cluster in two distinct ways that respond to the cluster’s thematic focus on “criticism and crisis”: Firstly, by coupling disaster research with an account of economic crisis, and secondly, by asking what forms of critical social action might be adequate to the current disaster context.

Subject areas

American History, Sociology, Social Movement Studies, Urban Studies, Political Economy

Main research interests

Social Reproduction Theory, Marxist Feminism, disaster studies

Biographical Details

Peer Illner studied sociology, philosophy, media studies and visual culture at Goldsmiths College, University of London. After research stays at Humboldt University and the University of the Arts, Berlin, his PhD thesis at the Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (University of Copenhagen) examined American disaster relief as a problem for social reproduction. Illner's research interests include catastrophes and crises, political economy, disaster capitalism, and 20th century urbanism, art and architecture. Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Excellence Cluster The Formation of Normative Orders, his first monograph "Disaster in Crisis" is forthcoming by Pluto Press. Illner publishes widely in journals such as Culture Unbound, continent and Real Review. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Architectural Association, School of Architecture in London and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture.

Publications

  • Article
    • 2017
      • Illner, Peer (2017): Letter from the Editor: Désoeuvrement in Philosophy and in Art, continent 6 (2), pp. 1-5
        Details
      • Illner, Peer (2017): The Artist as Whistleblower: Cartography, Capitalism and Cognitive Mapping, continent 6 (2), pp. 37-47
        Details
      • Illner, Peer (2017): The Ebb and Flow of Gender, in Real Review no. 4., pp. 30-42.
        Details
    • 2015
      • Illner, Peer (2015): Who’s Calling the Emergency? The Black Panthers, Securitisation and the Question of Identity, in: Culture Unbound, vol 7, no. 3, pp. 479-495.
        Details
    • 2013
    • 2011
      • Illner, Peer (2011): Against Audited Education: The Emergence of an Activist Pedagogy”, in EduFactory, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 68-81
        Details
  • Book chapter
    • (noch nicht erschienen)
      • Illner, Peer; Knaus, Katharina (forthcoming): Beyond Community and Sharing: The Case of Airbnb in New York City, in Hinze, A., Kantor, P., (eds.) American Urban Politics in a Global Age, London: Routledge.
        Details
    • 2017
      • Illner, Peer (2017): The Locals do it Better? The Strange Victory of Occupy Sandy, in Bell, R., Ficociello, R., (eds.) Eco-Culture: Disaster, Narrative, Discourse, London: Lexington Books, pp.49-72.
        Details
    • 2016
      • Illner, Peer (2016): Der Kuenstler als Whistleblower. Kartografie, Kapitalismus und Cognitive Mapping. in K. Busch (ed.), Anderes Wissen., Fink Verlag, Paderborn, pp. 282-318.
        Details
      • Illner, Peer (2016): Making sense of disaster: The cultural studies of disaster. in R. Dahlberg, O. Rubin & MT. Vendelø (eds), Disaster Research: Multidisciplinary and international perspectives., 4, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 51-65.
        Details
    • 2014
      • Illner, Peer (2014): For Me, Myself and I: Architecture in the Age of Self-Reflexivity. in J Self & S Bose (eds), Real Estates: Life without Debt, London: Bedford Press, pp. 23-30.
        Details
  • Monograph
    • (noch nicht erschienen)
  • Book (ed.)
    • (noch nicht erschienen)
      • Illner, Peer (ed.) (forthcoming): Désoeuvrement: Unworking in Philosophy, Politics and Art. Berlin: August Verlag
        Details

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