- After Van Gogh: The geopolitics of the tsunami relief effort in the Netherlands
- Volume | Issue number
- 13 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The paper examines the Dutch humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake through the lens of geopolitics. It analyses the ways geopolitical representations shape non-state collective action, in this case the relief effort to help victims of the tsunami of 26 December 2004. Drawing on earlier work on geopolitical visions and national identity, the paper develops a framework to study people's geopolitics, the geopolitics of non-state collective actions. These insights are further explored through an examination of the Dutch tsunami relief effort. The paper discusses how the Dutch media framed this collective action as a national effort and articulated a sense of proximity and responsibility to mobilise people's generosity. Dutch geopolitical vision and national identity (water as a major threat to the national territory, the country's role as development aid donor, its relation to the regions affected) offer a frame to mobilise people. The tsunami is also analysed as a critical event for Dutch geopolitical representations and the tsunami relief effort as a peak experience providing a sense of recovered national identity in times when Dutch society was painfully divided between Muslims and non-Muslims after the murder of Theo van Gogh in November 2004. The concluding section discusses directions for further research into people's geopolitics.
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