The conditions of inclusion: Interrogating the rhetoric of global Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy texts on knowledge integration and inclusion

Liberty Pascua de Rivera

‘Knowledge-building’ has long been regarded as a keystone strategy in strengthening communities' capacities, resilience, and adaptation strategies against hazards and disasters. From technoscientific discourses, the approach to knowledge-building gradually shifted towards a more integrative stance, this time involving place-based knowledges (i.e., local, indigenous, traditional) in international Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) frameworks. On the one hand, scholars indicate that DRR policies cemented an equitable and inclusive approach to knowledge-building. On the other, several observers noted that the lack of concrete examples of knowledge integration may indicate that the stipulations of global policies were but empty rhetoric. Taking into account these divergent views, I employed a transversal rhetorical analysis to understand how key global texts for disaster management produced over four decades of policymaking epicycles regard, categorise, and deploy ‘knowledge’. By centring the analysis on metaphors as persuasive texts in global DRR policies, this article provides a third perspective about knowledge-building to argue that the rhetoric mirrored, rather than deflected or obscured, the reality of marginal knowledge integration. The article further illustrates how knowledge integration and inclusion meant the relegation of place-based knowledges to the category of ‘accessories’ to the techno-managerial features of DRR approaches.