Newsletter 55

VOL. 16, N°. 55, DECEMBER 2014 – MARCH 2015


nina_picture Nina Blom Andersen

Dear Members, Colleagues and Followers of the Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network,

I am glad to be able to present to you this 55th DCSCRN Newsletter – and especially to present to you the new format of the newsletter. I believe that our editor and vice coordinator of the network, Antti Silvast, has done a great job evolving the way we will communicate about network activities in the years to come. I hope that you will welcome this new way of being kept updated on research, colleagues, activities, resources and the like.

Though the format has changed there is still a high degree of similarity with the newsletter as you have known it. A very important continuation is that we have kept the idea of catching up on news within our research field not the least through inviting you as members to participate in the creation of content. So although the newsletter is a way for the DCSCRN coordinating committee to reach you as members, the newsletter is as well an opportunity for you to reach each other. We hope that you will persist to use this opportunity.

In this report I will use the occasion to tell you about the work planning the ESA conference in Prague this August that the Coordinating Committee is engaged in. Though we are not able yet to provide you with the final plan, we can tell that so far we have accepted 63 abstracts covering a broad range of topics. The abstracts will be gathered in seven special sessions and a number of open sessions, which are outlined below. We will make the programme official here on when it is finalized.

In this newsletter, you can also learn more about a very interesting and promising semiplenary that DCSCRN members are responsible for planning. You can read the abstract of this session and the names of the two distinguished invited speakers by scrolling down to the announcements section.

Hope you will enjoy format and content of this newsletter.

Nina Blom Andersen, DCSCRN Coordinator,


Antti Antti Silvast

Welcome to the April edition of the DCSCRN Newsletter, which covers the period December 2014 – March 2015.

As you will see, the format of this newsletter has shifted from the previous versions.  In the old format which dates to the inception of this newsletter, your submissions were first sent to the editor, carefully edited by us in a word processor, and then compiled into a PDF document, which was finally released on our web site and through the mailing list. For some while, we in the DCSCRN Coordinating Committee (CC) have felt that this format is no longer up-to-date with how many organizations disseminate their news. The redesigned newsletter, henceforth, will be published directly on our site as a standalone web page. This is the first of these issues hopefully out of many to come.

From the readers’ point of view, we wish that this new format will prove convenient and enjoyable both on the computer and mobile screens. Many important practices will stay the same, nonetheless. The regularity of the newsletter and the process of its compiling does not change due to the format shift. Specifically, we still feel it is very valuable to provide a recurrent publication that gathers recent happenings, rather than publishing news in our blog as they arrive to us. To this end, the CC of the DCSCRN decided to show all of the newsletter on one page to underscore it as a whole bulletin of collected information.

The ways that you send in entries has likewise not changed, but follows the same instructions outlined in the end of this page. Please scroll or go there through this link to find how to send your submissions which are of great importance to us.

Finally, the newsletter itself is not published through the social media, yet we very much value the efforts of colleagues that engage in those channels and disseminate information on our research fields. Hence, we have included buttons towards the end of this page that let you share the stories in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

In the contents, the ESA Conference is approaching soon and those concerns are prominent in this issue just like the last one. Please see below for a preliminary list of our paper sessions and an accepted semiplenary sessions which two DCSCRN members proposed. We look forward to meeting you soon in this conference one way or the other. The Third UN World Conference Disaster Risk Reduction also recently went underway in Japan and we have covered a conference report and a reproduction of the jury speech for the Sasakawa Award for disaster risk reduction. Last but not least, you will find the regular entries like new members, publications, and announcements are also in this issue.

I wish you enjoy the contents as well as the new format, and please write to us with any feedback.

I end this editorial with sad news which is the passing away of our friend and colleague, distinguished disaster researcher Professor Joe Scanlon. Please scroll forward to find a short note on this. An obituary will be published in the next newsletter issue due in August.


Antti Silvast, editor,


Please join me in welcoming the following new DCSCRN members:

  • Paula Almeida, post-graduate student in Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil, has interests in sociology of disaster, emergency management and social capital and disaster.

As of April 2015, the DCSCRN has 270 members of who 40 are paying ESA members. The up-to-date list of all members is available at


Joe Scanlon passed away

We are saddened to hear that Professor Joe Scanlon from Carleton University, Canada, passed away during last weekend. The DCSCRN wishes to express its condolences to his  family, friends, and colleagues.

Please find an obituary in the daily newspaper Ottawa Citizen. A list of some of his publications covering disaster studies can be found at

Antti Silvast’s fellowship in Edinburgh

The DCSCRN member Antti Silvast has moved to a new fellowship in the University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS), to work with its growing number of energy-engaged researchers. His project here addresses European energy policy and energy market developments and he would be happy to get in touch with other scholars of these topics. Please contact him at his new address below.

Antti Silvast (


Books, articles, and recent studies by DCSCRN members and colleagues.

Orhan, Ezgi (2014). The Consequences of Security Cognition in Post-disaster Urban Planning Practices in the Case of Turkey. Natural Hazards, November 2014, 1-19

This paper synthesises the literature on risk and disaster paradigms and evaluates the disaster management system of Turkey by presenting the post-disaster urban planning practices. The threat of nature on human being and their artefacts establishes risk cognition and becomes one of the main concerns of societies due to the social and economic costs. The change in the perception of risk has led to revise the disaster management paradigms at international level in 1990s. The traditional disaster paradigms see the physical world as an externality causing damage on human environment, thus the aim of this thought is to reduce losses caused by disasters. Seeing the shortcomings of traditional approaches, the changing conceptualization of disasters concludes to contemporary approaches, which assume that pre-disaster policies lead to rationalization of resource allocation and increase efficiency of investments made to reduce risks. However, a disaster management system dominated by traditional view, which focuses on direct impacts of disasters and ignores the secondary effects, leads to employment of resources in an irregular way without predicting possible consequences. In the disaster management approach of Turkey, the security concern of the traditional approach produces permanent housing in geologically safer districts, which causes the problem of fragmentation of urban space. Adapazari and Van, earthquake-hit cities of Turkey, exemplify the post-disaster urban setting of a traditional disaster management approach. Along with the literature, post-disaster practices of Turkey reveal that the security concern result in generation of new settlement districts posing new problems such as fragmentation of urban bodies, alienation of new settlements from historicity of existing town and isolation of urban public culture.

Please find the full paper on this page.

Ezgi Orhan (

Basic, Goran (2015) ”Reconciliation Narratives of Survivors from War in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. In Venkat, Pulla och Bharath, Bhushan, Mamidi (Ed.). Some Aspects of Community Empowerment and Resilience (pp. 189-205). New Delhi: Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

The aim of this article was to analyze the retold experiences of 27 survivors from the 1990s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have examined verbal markers of reconciliation and implacability and I have analyzed described terms for reconciliation that are being
actualized in the narratives. In the narratives of those interviewed, implacability is the prominent them, but the possibility of reconciliation is mentioned, if some conditions are met. These conditions are for example justice for the victims of the war, a confession from the offender and his emotional involvement (for instance showing remorse and shame). The picture that emerges from the analyzed narratives is that it is easier to forgive someone imprisoned for his atrocities.

Please continue to read the chapter online.

Keywords: Reconciliation, Narrative, Forgiveness, Implacability, Conditions for Reconciliation, Shame, Justice, Perpetrator, Emotion, Victim.

Goran Basic (

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Reports on events that transpired in our research fields over the last months.

UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai, 2015


With spring on its way and the cherry blossom beginning, the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction took place in the Japanese city of Sendai on the 14-18 of March, 2015. More than six thousand people attended this meeting, which was divided into three segments; the intergovernmental segment focused on policy issues; the multi stakeholder segment focused on matters of practice; and the public forum which was more scientifically oriented.

In terms of policy, delegates from all over the world agreed on a new framework for disaster risk reduction for the years 2015-2030. The so called Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFA) builds on the existing Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA). It aims at preventing new disasters and reducing existing disaster risk through the implementation of integrated measures. In order to achieve this goal, the framework has seven global targets to reduce mortality, affected people, loss and damage; increase risk reduction strategies; and enhance international cooperation.


The SFA emphasizes that while Nation States have the primary responsibility for disaster risk reduction and are also responsible for engaging in broad international cooperation on these matters, stakeholders at all societal levels should contribute to this work; public, private and voluntary organizations. Just as the previous HFA framework, the SFA is a non-binding agreement, but it has been adopted by consensus after an extensive intergovernmental negotiation process that started already in July 2014 in Geneva and ended with intensive negotiations in Sendai.

While many people, both from government and the civil society, lauded that a new global framework had finally been agreed upon, voices of criticism were also heard, saying the SFA “…falls short in terms of providing measurable targets, building on local level capacities, recognising conflict and climate change as underlying drivers of vulnerability, and making linkages with other critical frameworks being developed this year, including the SDGs and the UNFCCC’s Climate Change Agreement.” Only time will tell us what the results are from this new framework.


Read more about the conference and the Sendai Framework for Action here:

Susann Baez Ullberg (

UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction

Sasakawa Award

The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction is awarded to an individual or institutions that have taken active efforts in reducing disaster risk in their communities and advocates for disaster risk reduction.

The 2015 Sasakawa Award was presented during the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 14-18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan. Murat Balamir, the head of Sasakawa Award jury, has kindly shared his jury speech that has been reproduced below. Please note that all of the jury members contributed to this text and consent to it.

You can find the running of the whole Sasakawa ceremony in the video below.

Jury Speech: Sasakawa Award 2015

The Jury was delighted to receive a large number of applications in the Sasakawa 2015 Award program, and to witness the enthusiasm for taking part in “Shaping the Future”.

Although reviewing such a diverse range of candidates took weeks of analyses and debate for the Jury, it was gratifying to arrive at a mutual and confident understanding about the nature of contributions made. The candidates have been evaluated in terms of their capacities exercised in “Shaping the Future”. This fundamentally meant the assessment of the candidates in meeting six criteria: Influence, Extent, Permanency, Innovation, Efficiency, and Collaboration.

The pool of applications revealed a good spread in geographical terms. In terms of identities, the nominees are individuals, voluntary community associations, formal institutions, or official bodies. Regarding scope, one could alternately identify pre-disaster or post-disaster focus, and comprehensive or partial approaches.

Significant efforts were observed in the health infrastructure systems, and in the training of professionals. Each nominee had some message for the future, though some were more explicit in addressing challenges with adaptable methods or models that can be replicated elsewhere.

The wide spectrum of participation with genuine accomplishments compelled the Jury to identify as many categories of appreciation as possible. Apart from participants with significant merit, the Jury could specify two entries that deserved certificates of ‘distinction’. The considerations of the Jury unanimously indicated an outstanding Laureate.

In terms of taking up future challenges in DRPR in general – and more specifically for policy declarations here in Sendai, Displacement Solutions research group is one candidate that deserves mention.

Climate change and rise of sea level are to displace millions from their most fertile lands. Are we prepared to take the challenge? An “early warning” is made by the Displacement Solutions group.

They point to the critical nexus of long-term environmental change, competition for resources, and human rights. Setbacks in development are not only due to immediate impact and direct losses experienced, but also due to the subtle and often unrecorded disruption of livelihoods, erosion in human rights, and downgraded gender equality.

A singular nominee that also deserves special mention is Dr. Mark Keim, because of his visionary and whole-hearted engagement regarding environmental issues and community health.

The Jury observes here a rare combination of qualities in one person – leadership; technical, administrative, and political skills. His work within and between governments, academia, business, and communities is an example of how an individual can drive a conversation within and between institutions, utilizing the power of these institutions for common good and positive social change.

The Jury recommends certificates of merit for Displacement Solutions and Dr. Mark Keim.

First nominee considered eligible for Certificate of Distinction is:

Jeffrey Town Farmers Association, Jamaica

This is a rural community that has developed a symbiosis with the natural environment and restructured itself internally by collective determination.

This Association is a sustainable model for small agricultural communities subject to various hazards.

Enabled by external agents and ‘experts’, rather than dependently relying on them, and with the wisdom of home grown leadership and ‘imperts’ (ie. local endemic experts), a self-sustaining community is maintained, regardless of limitations in resources and finances.

Community cooperation is fully realized in optimizing natural and human resources with fine division of responsibilities.

A well-communicating and trained community could comfortably transfer the local culture of survival to younger generations building up resilience to hazard impacts, and the will and skills needed for a sustainable future.

The second nominee considered eligible for Certificate of Distinction is:

Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities

This is an unprecedented leadership of a private sector action group, voluntarily pooling their resources with firmness of purpose and creative dedication. Members are jointly committing resources for the sustainable support of DRPR policy most effectively throughout the economy, and to work with governments in the fields of Community Education, Risk Information, Adaptation Research, Mitigation Infrastructure, and Strategic Alliances.

They base their move on research and rational estimations of investments and returns. This has great leverage on government action, and is a stimulus for industry, commerce and the whole economy, in encouraging safety performances.

The Roundtable employs independent researchers and promotes a “national research agenda”. They promote the appointment of a “national resilience advisor”, commit to “annual pre-disaster resilience fund”, and become a source of support for all components of the society.

This brings in an almost revolutionary scenario, beyond what any singular person or body can potentially achieve. We observe here an umbrella formation to trigger very many individual enterprises actively to take part in DRPR operations in safeguarding communities.

The Roundtable collaboration is an initiative that should stimulate similar undertakings globally. This may perhaps prove one example of what was envisaged by the late Ulrich Beck as the evolution of new organizational structures in Risk Society to transform the modern society, if we are to survive.

The Roundtable provides an outstanding example of the potential power of effectively organized private sector in shaping the future.

The Laureate: Allan Lavell

This personal performance is a perfect example of how grand achievements are possible with individual dedication, despite humble resources.

The enduring and most influential individual efforts of Mr. Lavell in undertaking various roles in a multi-actor environment make him “a leader in the DRM community”.

Three decades of teaching, research, consultancies, and contributions had their imprint in shaping DRPR policy and conduct in the Latin American region.

Lavell’s integrative approach both at official levels and among civil organizations has encouraged them to collaborate, and coordinate DRPR activities. This is a crosscutting effort between official bodies, academia, research institutions, and local communities that contributed to the formation of new institutions, “creation of civil entities”, provision of new progressive policies, inclusive strategies, all finding their way in laws and regulations.

“Ability to see the big picture” has been instrumental in inspiring and mediating decisions, and in developing holistic and sustainable DRPR measures.

Personally accessible to all, Mr Lavell has been capable of tailoring official conduct according to the needs of the local communities, enabling them, and always highlighting the human needs. His efforts have been a “glue to hold together disparate communities”.

This is a timeless model; A model for all times.

Murat Balamir (

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European Sociological Association (ESA), 12th Conference, Prague, 25-28 August 2015


The ESA RN08, Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network (DCSCRN), is publishing here a preliminary overview of the sessions that we will organise at the upcoming ESA conference. If you have submitted an abstract to any of our sessions (or to any other session at the ESA conference) you should have been notified by email on the 1st of April.

We are pleased to announce two types of sessions in the coming conference. Firstly, there will be regular paper sessions which total to 7 in addition to a general session (please note that many of these sessions shall probably be split into multiple sessions). The final list of sessions depends upon the registrations of the participants. You can read the final program in the next issue of our newsletter, due in August.

Secondly, two members of the DCSCRN proposed and were accepted a semiplenary session with the speakers Professor Paul N. Edwards (University of Michigan) and Professor Robin Williams (University of Edinburgh). Please scroll below to read about the contents of this panel.

The DCSCRN look forward to welcome you to any and all of our sessions in Prague!

If you have questions about the RN08, please contact the coordinator, Nina Blom Andersen (, and the vice coordinator, Antti Silvast ( If you wish to ask about a specific session, please communicate with the session conveners directly. If you have further questions on the conference, please visit the conference website. For further information on the RN08, please see our homepage here. More information on the European Sociological Association is available on their web site.

ESA RN08 DCSCRN preliminary sessions

  • RN08S01: General session(s)
    convener: Nina Blom Andersen (
  • RN08S02: Post-disaster recovery: understanding social relationships in the ‘new normal’
    convener: John Twigg (
  • RN08S03: Sociological imagination, inequalities and disaster resilience: which future connection for a resilient society?
    convener: Barbara Lucini (
  • RN08S04: Infrastructures of Preparedness: Conceptual Issues, Empirical Openings
    conveners: Antti Silvast ( & Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen (
  • RN08S05: Energy Resilience Politics
    conveners: Antti Silvast ( & Barbara Lucini (
  • RN08S06: Water: Too Little or Too Much as a Leading Cause of “Natural” Disasters
    conveners: Nikos Petropoulos ( & Nina Blom Andersen (
  • RN08S07: Information seeking behavior in disasters: Existing models and new frameworks
    convener: Christine Hagar (
  • RN08S08: Social inequalities, demographic diversity and the well-being of families in Europe in the context of the economic crisis: Patterns and Common Challenges
    conveners: Dionyssis Balourdos ( & Joanna Tsiganou (

12th ESA Conference Semiplenary Session: Modeling Uncertainties, Producing Differences

Conveners: Antti Silvast ( & Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen (

In social sciences, interest in ‘risk’ has tended to point to two alternative research areas. For some, the term has mainly referred to presumed major societal transitions, such as the arrival of a ‘risk society’, ‘climate of risk’ or ‘culture of fear’. For others, constitutive of the research on risk has been the argument according to which social sciences do not study ‘technical’ or ‘objective’ risks but ‘cultural’ risk perceptions. In contrast to these orientations, a new line of research has recently emerged. In this third research area, focus has been laid on the concrete forms of risk governance and relevant techniques. The main question has concerned how a technical understanding of risk is operationalized. How is risk calculated and simulated in specific cases? How has the understanding of risk, thus produced, been put to use in the anticipation and economization of uncertainties and the mitigation of their effects? The proposed semi-plenary session takes the emerging perspective on risk as its starting point, with regards to a specific area of study: disasters and catastrophes. The key questions are: how are risk techniques reinvented, recontextualized and reshaped by the experiences gained in disaster events – such as public health crises – and by threat events that are looming – such as the impacts of global climate change? In what ways are the techniques critiqued, and do new methods of anticipating crisis emerge? Last but not least, what kind of differences such as nationality, ethnicity, gender or age may be embedded inside and reinforced by knowledge infrastructures that measure risks on various domains?

To address these questions, we are very pleased to invite two distinguished semiplenary speakers: Professor Paul N. Edwards from the University of Michican and Professor Robin Williams from the University of Edinburgh. Please visit their homepages to read more about the speakers.

The Safety of Critical National Infrastructure Systems, The Safety-Critical Systems Club, London, UK, 21 April 2015

Critical national infrastructure comprises assets that are vital to the delivery and integrity of the essential services upon which we rely, the loss or compromise of which would lead to severe economic or social consequences or to loss of life. These include systems in: communications, emergency services, energy, financial services, food, government, health, transport and water. Many of these areas have significant safety risks and this seminar looked at the ways in which these risks are managed.

The UK government has published an assessment of risks due to natural hazards, but some of these sectors have unknown underlying systemic security vulnerabilities, e.g. SCADA systems in utilities. The potential of common-mode and common-cause failures were discussed to see how they could affect multiple systems and sectors simultaneously. Assessing risk in this area is seen as problematic due to the low likelihood but very high impact of some of the risks, and also the very low public tolerability of failures.

The seminar featured presentations by safety experts working in the field of critical national infrastructure, and those involved in operating, assessing, and licensing the systems and facilities involved.

Details of this and other events at: Presentations from and the final programme of the event are available at


This is the periodic electronic newsletter of the Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network (DCSCRN). The purpose of the DCSCRN is to promote the study, research and analysis of “natural”, “technological” and “social” disasters with a view to contributing to the development of disaster resilient European communities, and preventing or mitigating the human, economic, social, cultural and psychological effects of crises and disasters.

The DCSCRN Electronic Newsletter is published three times a year (April, August, December). The previously published newsletters are accessible at the network’s webpage:

Announcements of conferences, book, film, and CDROM reviews, reportage on conferences, disaster diaries, brief articles on best or worst practices in disaster prevention and recovery, commentaries on disasters and crises, human interest stories relevant to disasters, etc. should be sent electronically to the editor, Antti Silvast ( no later than the first of the month of publication. Contributions to the newsletter should preferably be written in a concise format (½-1 page long maximum) in order to make reading comprehensive albeit focused. Ideas should be referenced (Author, year), but there is no need for a complete reference list.

Relevant contributions from the field of disaster, conflict and crisis research, as well as from applied disaster, conflict and crisis management practice, are most welcome!

All “signed” texts express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the coordinators, the editor or of the DCSCRN.

Nina Blom Andersen, DCSCRN Coordinator
Antti Silvast, DCSCRN Vice Coordinator and E-Newsletter Editor

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