Crisis Discourses and Technology Regulation in a Weak State: Responses to a Pesticide Disaster in Honduras

This article will help to improve pesticide risk regulation and thinking about disasters. Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in October 1998, leaving a trail of death, injury and devastating damage. As it tore through the country, the hurricane damaged a number of warehouses which contained pesticides, resulting in the discharge of more than 70 tonnes of pesticides into the environment. This article explores the responses of the Honduran state and international relief agencies to this event. It analyses the use of crisis discourses and their role in the reconstruction process, arguing that crisis discourses may legitimize political rule in the context of a weak state. It goes on to make the point that the shaping of crisis discourses is not the exclusive terrain of politicians but necessarily involves technical experts.
Crisis; Discourse; risk; pesticide; regulation; Weak State; Pesticide; Disaster; Honduras; political ecology; exception routine; FAO; environmental politics

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