The Case for Not Letting San Francisco Collapse

  • Charlotte Mazel-Cabasse


This chapter discusses the work of the Earthquake Junkies over the last several decades. Taking the opposite view to that of Mike Davis, and his famous essay “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn” (Davis, Ecology of fear: Los Angeles and the imagination of disasters, Vintage Books, New York, 1998), the chapter describes how experts and scientists in the Bay Area have joined forces to—they hope—save San Francisco from a large-scale earthquake. This chapter focuses on the anthropology exploration of the expert’s definition of earthquakes as an object of science, its translation into public policy and scientific experimentation. We will explore how the improvement of mitigation projects lie in the articulation of different existences of earthquakes. Finally, we will see how decades of work have addressed earthquake risk in the Bay Area and have, despite sometimes mixed results, laid the foundation for solid risk awareness for all residents in this seismically volatile region.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Mazel-Cabasse
    • 1
  1. 1.Data ScienceBerkeley Institute for Data ScienceBerkeleyUSA

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