CHILDREN AND RESILIENCE IN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS

J. Moran-Ellis, K. Burningham, Department of Sociology, UNIVERSITY OF SURREY, Guildford
W. Medd,
 Department of Geography, University of Lancaster, Lancaster
S. Tapsell
, Flood Hazard Research Centre, University of Middlesex, London, United Kingdom
M. Walker, R. Whittle
, Department of Geography, University of Lancaster, Lancaster

Abstract

The concept of ‘resilience’ has great potentail for enhancing the life-chances of individuals caught up in traumatic situations. In this paper we argue, however, that how resilience is conceptualised is crucial for it to have practical as well as analytic value in relation to children’s capacities to survive and withstand traumatic crisis events such as floods. The positive potential of resilience can be diminished in scope where conceptualisations are embedded in hegemonic ideologies of what children need or what is of significance in their lives. Such assumptions are not uncommon in adult-centric conceptualisations of children’s subjectivities as they often draw on presumptions about inter-generational orderings. In this paper we argue that studies of the effects and aftermaths of disasters need to include empirical research which documents children’s own sense of their subjectivities and use that research to develop the application and relevance of notions of resilience in guiding policy development and practical interventions. Drawing on our own research with children in Hull (in England) whose homes and schools were extensively flooded in June 2007, we present a case for the value of such an analysis but also highlight the challenges involved in undertaking such research.

Comments are closed.