VOL. 16, N°. 57, SEPTEMBER 2015 – DECEMBER 2015
I am glad to be able to present to you this 57th DCSCRN Newsletter.
Welcome to the February edition of the DCSCRN Newsletter, which covers the period September 2015 – December 2015.
WEB MANAGER’S NOTE
Please join us in welcoming new DCSCRN members.
FROM OUR MEMBERS
Messages from DCSCRN members.
Studies by DCSCRN members and colleagues presented at the 12th ESA conference in Prague.
Calls and upcoming events.
Reports on recent events.
THE DCSCRN NEWSLETTER
About the newsletter.
Dear Members, Colleagues and Followers of the Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network,
Welcome to the 57th edition of the European Sociological Association (ESA) RN08: Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis (DCSCRN) Newsletter — the first of our current two-year term that started in the 12th ESA Conference in Prague.
The biennial report of RN08, produced for the ESA, was completed and submitted a few months ago. An institutional memory for our members and the ESA, the summary of this report highlights many fronts where our network has been active and is developing in the next months and years.
Firstly, at the 12th ESA Conference, RN08 arranged 11 sessions and a total of 40 papers were presented on disaster, conflict and social crisis. You can find the final programme in the biennal report. This newsletter continues our tradition of gathering in the Publications section six extended abstracts from presentations in our sessions. We thank all the colleagues who decided to present their work to us, including in this extended format and hope these publications will result in further discussions and be helpful for developing their research.
In addition to paper sessions, two RN08 members also arranged a semiplenary with Prof Paul N. Edwards (University of Michigan), on the theme Time and Risk in Climate Knowledge: An Infrastructure Perspective and Prof Robin Williams (University of Edinburgh), on The New Knowledge Infrastructures of the Turbulent Technology Market. A well-visited session, a longer description is in our previous newsletter — with another report about to appear in this bulletin publication by institution of one of the keynotes.
In the midterm before the next ESA conference in Athens in 2017, as our newsletter editor Jakub Lewandowski highlights below, efforts are well underway to organise another interim conference in Ankara, Turkey, in September 2016, following two successful interims in Greece in 2012 and 2014. The title of this event will be “Disasters, Conflicts, Social Crises and Mass Emergency Population Movements with Special Reference to the Middle East Refugees”. Find more information in the Announcements section, with special thanks to our former coordinator Prof Murat Balamir and founder Dr Nicholas Petropoulos for their extensive work on planning and thematising the event.
Meanwhile, a few points emerged in the biennal report as possible future areas of interest for the network. For one thing, the 12th ESA conference did not see any collaborations with other research networks of the ESA. In previous ESA conferences, we have organised both joint sessions and a semiplenary together with the other networks, including RN12: Environment and Society, RN06: Critical Political Economy, and RN24 Science and Technology. Continuing collaborating in conferences could be helpful, especially to keep the network coherent around “natural, technological and social disasters” and to accommodate wider topics and themes through collaboration with others with a deeper interest in other important social science areas.
Secondly, the guidelines of ESA ask about actions we have taken to improve participation of PhD students and early-career researchers in our network. It is an area where ESA itself is very active: for example, its next, funded PhD Summer School will be held in Lisbon on June 19-21, 2016, with the call for applications available on the ESA website: http://www.europeansociology.org/phd-research.html.
There are also plans towards an official body in ESA to represent early-career researchers and more materially, the organisation offers concessions to the conference registration and membership of PhD students. To attract early-career researchers, likewise, the RN08 strives to keep the costs of our interim conferences as affordable as possible. In what other ways could our network serve PhD students and other early-career researchers? We are keen on inviting all early-career researchers to join our network and welcome your input and any and all initiatives in so doing.
One of our practices to integrate new scholars is asking early-career researchers to participate in organising the network. With this in view, let me end by introducing our new newsletter editor, Mr Jakub Lewandowski, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment Polish Academy of Sciences (IAFE PAS) and PhD candidate at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. Jakub has done an impressive work in gathering this newsletter, including its detailed editing and reporting in research activities from his own part and others. Please join me in welcoming Jakub to the network and thank him from all his invaluable work for this newsletter and in the years to come. I hope you enjoy this first newsletter by him!
Antti Silvast, DCSCRN Coordinator
Welcome to the 57th DCSCRN Newsletter, which covers the period September 2015 – December 2015.
12th ESA conference, hosted in Prague between 25 and 28 August 2015 is behind us but since then research findings has developed significantly. Thus, we decided to dedicate Publications section to issues raised during DCSCRN sessions organised at the Prague conference. Six papers are therefore presented in the extended versions sent meanwhile by the authors as a response to our call for contributions. Some of the studies focus on crisis as an unemployment in labour market that can be experienced either by natives or immigrants. Publication section presents also different approaches towards disaster analyses that has been taken simultaneously in Greek and German circumstances. One could argue that disaster expectations and responses can be both politically- and/or myth-driven social phenomena. Social factors prove to be important also in another respect. Particular lifestyle do influence information seeking process during disasters which is presented in paper sent by our German colleagues.
There is time to move on with our DCSCRN activities. Research Network received 20 new member applications so you can meet all the people in Web Manager’s Note. Some of new members introduce herself/himself in From Our Members section.
We are also very keen on informing you that the organisation of midterm conference is just to be set up in Ankara 26-28 September 2016. Murat Balamir is doing his best in order to provide us with a host institution so please do not omit the Announcements section. Since the main theme of midterm venue will be highly related to recent and still unsolved issues in the Middle East and mass movements, we recommend you to look there for more details. You will also find some details on the upcoming ISA conference in Vienna 10-14 July, 2016.
Research outcome again substantiated the argument that disasters belong neither to groups nor to regions. They can struck everywhere, irrespective of geographical and historical background. This is relevant for flood risk management systems which struggle with the same institutional challenges both in Eastern, Central and Western European countries. Therefore, Reports section is dedicated to similarities and differences between European regions and how they pursue societal resilience to floods.
Personally this is my first Newsletter editorship which I am eventually very pleased to present to all of you. I believe you find it interesting. If you have something relevant to our research network, please do not hesitate to inform us about it in the future! For any further questions you can send a message to our mailbox dscrn.news[at]gmail.com or directly to me (jakub.lewandowski22[at]gmail.com).
Jakub Lewandowski, DCSCRN newsletter editor
WEB MANAGER’S NOTE
Please join me in welcoming the following new DCSCRN members:
Zeynep Selin Acar, research assistant in Department of International Relations, Ege University, Turkey, has interests in conflict-prevention, humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect.
Per Becker, Associate Professor in Risk Management with focus on Societal Resilience at the Department of Building and Environmental Technology, and associated to Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM). Interested in transdisciplinary research of sustainability and social change, of what makes society resilient to disturbances, disruptions and disasters
Silke Betscher, PhD Lecturer in Institute of Anthropology and Cultural Research, Bremen, Germany, has interests in transculturalism and participation.
Eva Angelyna Bodgan, PhD candidate in Department of Sociology, and associated to Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University Alberta, Canada, has recent interests in public participation in social/environmental impact assessment. Other areas: food, agriculture, environment.
Andrew Butler, researcher in Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, has interests in Post forest fire recovery related to identity and landscape.
Catherine Butler, PhD Advanced Research Fellow in Geography Department, University of Exeter, UK, has interests in public engagement with socio-environmental issues, social practice, consumption and environmental sustainability and energy system transitions at different scales (e.g. community, national).
Guðný Björk Eydal, Professor in Faculty of Social Work, University of Iceland, has interests in care policies, social services, poverty, crisis management and child policies.
Maria Grasso, PhD in Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, UK, has interests in political sociology, social movements, political participation, social change and empirical political research.
Christiane Grinda, research associate and PhD candidate, Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany, has interests in the social construction of concepts like risk, development and resilience.
Sibel Kalaycıoğlu, Professor in Department of Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, has interests in social inequality, class and mobility, sociology of migration and the migrants, social Networks, intergenerational relations, sociology of work, political sociology, sociology of ageing and youth, health, dynamics of poverty, precarity and social exclusion-inclusion
Ahoura Meskinazarian, PhD King’s College London, UK, has interests in social resilience and root causes of the social vulnerability in post-disaster period.
DeMond Miller, Professor of sociology in Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Mississippi State University, USA, has interests in environmental sociology (disaster studies and the study of the social construction of place), community development and community organizing, and social impact assessment.
Ingibjörg Lilja Ómarsdóttir, project manager in The Social Science Research Institute, University of Iceland, has interests in crisis and psychological first aid.
Maria Petraki, PhD student in Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Athens, Greece, has interests in local aspects of social economy, crisis and poverty.
Elvira Santiago Gómez, PhD in Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, has interests in social policy, science, technology, environmental politics and citizen participation.
Katarina Soltesova, researcher in The Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience, University College London, UK, has interests in community-based disaster risk reduction, social networks, participatory urban development.
Joanna Tsiganou, PhD in National Centre for Social Research (EKKE), Athens, Greece, has interests in gender inequalities, social aspects of crime, discourses on power.
Anke Wellman, PhD candidate in Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies, University of Stuttgart, Germany, has interests in public policy, patterns of risk perception concerning natural hazards and the subsequent influence on behaviour in crisis situations.
As of February 2016, the DCSCRN has 292 members of who 45 are paying ESA members. The up-to-date list of all members is available at http://www.dcscrn.org/membership/members.
Figure 1 depicts the growth of the network membership between 2010 and 2015. Geographically, RN08 has in 2016 members from 48 different countries in all continents (figure 2).
Figure 1. The development of ESA RN08 membership, 2010-2016
Figure 2. RN08 members (N=292) by continent in 2016
FROM OUR MEMBERS
Daniel Beech (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography and Earth Science, Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk/en/iges/staff/phd/dib8/
Daniel is currently a fourth year Geography PhD Candidate at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom. He has completed an undergraduate degree in Geography (BA) and an MSc in Regional and Environmental Policy, also at Aberystwyth University; in addition, he has been a recipient of the Geographical Club Award at the Royal Geographical Society. His PhD research has built upon previous explorations of how classical and contemporary volcanic landscapes are represented in artwork, and increasingly through the use of advanced technology. His PhD research is interdisciplinary and adapts theoretical aspects of social science and networked geographies to the complex hazard management network functioning in Iceland. Through interviews with leading actors in a range of Icelandic and UK-based communities, observations of the network at first-hand, and social media analysis of recent volcanic events, various elements of trust, power, communication, scale and innovation within the network have become apparent. Iceland’s configuration and density of multiple hazards presents particular challenges, and networked geographies and social science provide narratives through which to critique and explain the network’s design and evolution. The findings qualitatively illustrate a sociological approach to hazard management, with interview extract’s and field notes being documented in a PhD thesis, and presented at academic conferences, both in the UK and overseas. Direct engagement with academia, monitoring institute’s, media organisations, aviation authorities, and lay public’s, associated with volcanic activity in Iceland, has led to a broad and reflective overview of the network being developed, allowing for theoretical analysis of the network’s interactions, features and uses of technology. Further research interests include interoperability, multi-risk environments, the governance of natural hazards, the growth and development of institutional partnerships, social media, and the policy-making process through which to design risk mitigation.
Christiane Grinda (email@example.com)
PhD candidate, Department of Geography, University of Bonn https://www.geographie.uni-bonn.de/forschung/wissenschaftliche-bereiche/geographische-entwicklungsforschung/staff/christiane-grinda
My name is Christiane Grinda. I am a PhD researcher affiliated to the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn. My research focus lies on the construction of flood risks and capacities and vulnerabilities in Mexican communities. I address concepts like the social constructions and practices of risk and the spatial implications of risk-making. At the same time I work as a Research Associate at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection. Here my main topics are interdisciplinary disaster risk management in a team of engineers, natural and social scientists, humanitarian aid and development cooperation as well as intercultural learning for and from disasters.
I am especially interested in exchanging with other researchers on current developments in practice theory, on audio-visual methods in research and collaborative research approaches.
For more information about my research and the teams I work in, please check out our team blog RISKNCRISIS (https://riskncrisis.wordpress.com/the-team/christiane-grinda/).
New postgraduate programme in Global Law and Disasters
University of Reading is delighted to announce 2016/2017 programme. The programme appeals especially to early and mid-career law and non-law professionals, the new programme examines the role and significance of global (i.e. national, regional and international) law and policy across the spectrum of crises, conflicts and disasters whether ‘man-made’ and/or ‘natural’ in origin. For those of you interested you can easily get further information.
Call for Papers: Volunteered geographical information, at the interface of technoscience and citizen participation
The field of disaster risks reduction enriches with the participation of citizens. The development of mobile technologies of information and platforms web, help in the production of reliable data in times of crisis and disaster. Place-based knowledge is helpful for policy design and community engagement. Nevertheless, many issues are still unclear for science regarding security, equity, data protection, and the technological gap in specific vulnerable communities and countries. New ideas regarding the Smart City are strongly emerging around the world, where the notion is that risk and disaster emergency response agencies benefit with the information and participation provided by the city inhabitants for prevention, response and mitigation based on specific contexts.
With these issues in view, please find the invitation to submit manuscripts for this special issue in Revista Cartografica, with the deadline of 15 March 2016, and welcoming contributions from disaster, conflict and social crisis researchers. For further information, contact Dr Frida Güiza at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The February 2016 Natural Hazards Observer is here!
Welcome to this year’s first issue of the Natural Hazards Observer, dedicated to the refugee crisis. This global and rapidly escalating crisis concerns everyone, especially those who work in the disaster field. Contributors examine the challenges refugees face from a number of different angles and discuss shortcomings and successes in local and national responses.
Rather than focusing on the refugee crisis in general terms, articles shine a light on the experiences of refugees who are in crisis. By doing so, readers are encouraged to pause and realize that refugees are not just numbers, they are human beings who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Content includes:
One Size Won’t Fit All – Why Labels Matter in Human Migration
By Jolie Breeden
Faces Behind Figures – A Counter Narrative of the Refugee Crisis
By Magdalena Schwarz and Elke Weesjes
Welcome to the Jungle – Dispatches from a Calais Refugee Camp
By Elisa Sandri
Still Under Attack – Muslim Americans, Bigotry, and the Enduring Backlash
By Lori Peek and Elke Weesjes
… and lots more.
We’re also happy to announce this edition of the Observer is the first to appear on our entirely new Web site. This new format will allow you to view articles individually, navigate the issue with ease, and easily share your favorite content on social media. Explore your copy of the February 2016 Natural Hazards Observer now.
Books, articles, and recent studies by DCSCRN members and colleagues.
This Newsletter section consists of work presented at the 12th European Sociological Association (ESA) conference hosted in Prague, 25-28 August 2015.
During the 12th ESA conference Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network (DCSCRN) organised 8 themed and 3 open sessions. These resulted in fruitful discussions and new insights which eventually evolved into an extended versions of the papers sent to us. Thereby, we are pleased to present five of these. Access to the extended work content is possible via link below each abstract.
In-group Affiliation as a Strategy to Cope With Employment Opportunities: Self-employed Roma and Muslim Immigrants in Greece
The proposed paper focuses on the impact of economic crisis and the deterioration of social inequalities in employment opportunities for two vulnerable groups, Roma and Muslim immigrants in Greece. These groups appear to lose the level of social inclusion that have achieved through entrepreneurship and self-employment (a rather thriving sector in this country before the advent of the current crisis). We present the results of a field research conducted in 2014 in Greece under the title “Combating discrimination in the field of entrepreneurship: Women and young Roma and Muslim immigrants” (funded by the European Commission). We test the relationship between “vocational activation” and: 1) “job satisfaction” and 2) “discrimination perception” (perceived discrimination against in-group and personal discrimination). These two factors are tested as mediators for predicting “in-group affiliation” (solidarity with family members and/or in-group). We investigate how “job satisfaction” and “perceived inequalities” may motivate members of vulnerable social groups to engage in introvert strategies such as in-group favoritism in order to cope with economic recession and professional survival. Aspects of Social Identity Theory provide a theoretical background for answering research questions.
During the years of high unemployment rates strategies that persons develop in order to cope with inequalities and discrimination are of high interest. Social indicators in Greece depict the increased risk for social destabilization. Present paper attempts to highlight how vulnerable groups achieve to survive in a mutable socio-economic environment and which strategies may ensure social stability and cohesion.
Assesing Social Vulnerabilities Under the Current Socioeconomic Conjecture: Quantitative and Qualitative Findings on Health and Labour Markets Status in the EU and within Greece
Olympia Kaminioti, Dimitra Kondyli
One of the main issues investigated in the paper is whether the current socioeconomic conjecture stabilized or altered existing inequalities in European societies. We focus on labour market and health status; these two aspects are first examined separately from each other and then the interplay between the two is investigated. An integrated methodological approach is chosen, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. More specifically, quantitative methods are used to assess inequalities across Europe and within Greece, analysing Eurostat data and Labour Force Survey data for Greece. Supplementary, qualitative data from a small number of in-depth interviews elucidate the meanings, causes and effects of inequalities in health and labour market status (employment, unemployment , inactivity) within Greece. Results show how vulnerabilities in the labour market status reinforce vulnerabilities in health status nourishing a cycle of negative results both at the personal and social level, arising great policy challenges for overturning existing trends. Moreover, inequalities in these two aspects seem to exacerbate inequalities in other aspects of social life such as education, family planning, etc. A main question is the identification of resilient factors in terms of social and economic resources. Concluding remarks concentrate on disaster-resilient policy suggestions in the two areas of interest.
Exploring Disaster Myths by Contrasting Expectations of Different Stakeholders
Daniel F. Lorenz, Katja Schulze, Martin Voss
The common notions about people’s behavior in disaster situations are often not based on empirical data, but rather on myths which overemphasize extreme behaviors: such as antisocial behavior, panic, disaster shock or helplessness and passivity and so on. Due to the fact that these expectations are shaped within specific social environments, different stakeholders such as a heterogeneous population, professionals or the media exhibit different expectations towards disaster behavior. These different expectations may not only be misplaced, they additionally guide the actions taken by the different stakeholders before and in disaster situations.
This presentation displays empirical results from the research project ENSURE (Enablement of Urban Citizen Support for Crisis Response) which analyzed the expectation of different stakeholders towards disaster behavior. Three different surveys were conducted: 1) a comprehensive document analysis on disaster behavior; 2) qualitative interviews with fire fighters, paramedics and disaster relief workers as well as 3) a quantitative representative poll of 1.006 citizens in Berlin, Germany. By contrasting the status of research with professional narrations as well as with the people’s expectations concerning their own and other’s disaster behavior, we try to explore the different expectations and their variations in detail. We are furthermore able to show how different person-related variables, such as gender, age, education etc., may inform the specific expectations of citizens.
Effects of Disaster Types and Lifestyle on Expected Information Seeking Behavior in Disasters
Katja Schulze, Daniel F. Lorenz, Martin Voss
Through which channel people receive and search for information during disasters is crucial for understanding how they process information and take means of action. People seek information so as to reach a better understanding of the situation including the danger they are in and to make an informed decision. Previous studies have concentrated on the channels used for information seeking and in doing so, identified variables such as gender, age or ethnicity through investigating only one disaster at a time. This focus on one disaster at a time in turn has had the consequence of an underappreciating of the effect which different disaster types have on information seeking. An analysis which combines the results of different disaster events and questions how lifestyle influences the information seeking process remains to be undertaken.
This presentation seeks to answer these questions, and as such, focuses on the expected active information seeking process in disasters. As part of the project ENSURE – Enablement of Urban Citizen Support for Crisis Response –1.006 people in a representative sampling were interviewed regarding their expected behavior in two disaster. Using a Latent Class Analysis we were able to identify different types of information seekers depending on the expected channels used in the scenarios. We moreover explore the impact of lifestyle and other person related variables on channel selection and their implications. Additionally, we demonstrate that the need for information seeking and the channels used are related to other expected behaviors during disasters.
Security and Risk in a Liberalized Electricity Infrastructure: Does Competition Compromise Resilience?
During the past decades, large societal infrastructures such as electricity networks, gas, water supply, and telecommunications have been increasingly opened up to competition on international markets. This has been driven by several related aims: streamlining activities, improving efficiency, and increasing transparency among industries that operated as natural monopolies before. However, a number of criticisms, many of them by social scientists, have stated the unintended effects of this market competition. According to the argumentation, increasing competition between different providers can compromise infrastructural resilience: If market liberalization increases complexity and interconnections in infrastructure systems, then their high-consequence, low-probability failures become almost inevitable according to the sociological Normal Accidents argument. However, even if these systems were more prone to accidents than before, their reliable management can still mitigate risks according to another popular counter-argument (called High Reliability Theory).
This paper interrogates these theories and explanations empirically by drawing from fault statistics of the Finnish electricity supply system between 1958 and 2013, published by the policy association Finnish Energy Industries (formerly Finnish Electricity Association), and running through the Finnish electricity market liberalization that started in 1995. Measuring energy system resilience through how long it takes for the customer electricity supply to be restored after disturbances, I present a longitudinal exploration of how different risks emerged in the increasingly internationally-connected and market-based electricity supply infrastructures. Specific emphasis is laid on the difference between city and country-side infrastructures, cross-border energy trading, weather events, and diffusion of renewable energy generation.
‘Disaster’ in Political Discourse: New Ways in the Exercise of Power in Greece Under Crisis
Joanna Tsiganou, Maria Thanopoulou
As C. W. Mills has argued “it is now the social scientist’s foremost political and intellectual task… to make clear the elements of contemporary uneasiness” . In the contemporary Greek society under crisis, there is evidenced a mounting sence of uneasiness. At the same time public rhetoric and discourse especially in pre-election periods are escalating this sence of uneasiness by invoking threats of social and economic ‘disasters’.
The aim of the proposed paper is to show the multiple ways the notion of ‘disaster’ is used in the public discourse and debate as well as wonder on the relationship existing between such a political discourse and the exercise of power. To this end our paper considers values, symbols and myths related to the ‘collective unconscious’ some of which bring into surface the relationship between religion and power. Our case is built upon qualitative data coming from the Greek experience of the last two national elections (in 2012 and 2015). By analyzing newspaper clippings referring to speeches of the main political actors during the electoral campaigns we are attempting to show how appeals to ‘disasters’ are in fact ‘catastrophic’ in various sences. We are also interested in examining whether the electoral campaigns in the middle of crisis are led by rational argumentation or they are driven by the management of public fears and social panics.
European Sociological Association ESA DCSRCN RN08 Midterm Conference, Ankara 26-28 September, 2016
On behalf of Members of the Coordinating Committee of the DCSCRN and DCSCRN advisers we are very pleased to inform you about the upcoming midterm conference which will be held in Ankara, Turkey. Thus, the major theme of the midterm conference is on “Disasters, Conflicts, Social Crises and Mass Emergency Population Movements with Special Reference to the Middle East Refugees”.
The current political state of affairs in the Middle East and the resulting influx of population in the European countries acquired proportions of a major human tragedy. The theme of the venue is specific but we firmly believe that sociological approach to the problem could explain the underlying realities of this vast human suffering. Moreover, we assume the theme points to relevant policy issues, foremost to the ‘human rights’ perspective, which need our immediate attention. Here you can find an extended conference proposal with a sample of suggested themes addressed by this venue. A call for papers will be announced soon.
Fourth Åre Risk Event on Resilience: Opportunities and Challenges for Societal Crisis Management and Individual Safety, 14-16 June 2016, Åre, Sweden.
The conference organizers are inviting proposals for presentations and/or posters on the topic of this year’s conference. The call for presentations is now open! The conference is geared towards researchers with an interest in resilience, security, and risk and crisis research and we welcome abstract and poster proposals focusing on issues and broader themes of resilience that would engender discussions between researchers and practitioners alike. You can get more information by clicking on this call for papers document or directly on the venue page: http://www.miun.se/en/rcr/conferences/are-risk-event-2016. The due date for sending an abstract is March 1, 2016.
Symposium Cultures of Risk: Management, Speculation, Symptom, 30 June – 2 July 2016, Brighton, UK.
Calculations of risk and quantifications of uncertainty are deeply embedded in the production of modernity. From the Cold War, through the 1970s to the present, however, practices of risk-assessment have expanded and intensified exponentially. Since the financial meltdown of 2007/8, risk has become a defining discourse across a huge range of intersecting fields. Stretching far beyond economics, notions of risk and its management frame our understanding of everything from the ecological to the biopolitical, from virtual realities to the materialities of migration, displacement and conflict.
But if risk is always necessarily speculative, how might this occlude a sense of its genealogies? What is risk a symptom of? Does it have a prehistory? How might we conceive alternative temporalities of and for it? What would it mean to speculate about risk differently? How do considerations of risk imagine, produce or project future worlds?
This interdisciplinary symposium considers the ways in which these and associated issues can be explored across different genres, texts, media and critical approach. Information on abstract submission details is accessible on the site of The British Association for American Studies.
Third International Sociological Association (ISA) Forum of Sociology, 10-14 July 2016, Vienna, Austria, Research Committee 39 on Sociology of Disasters
The Third ISA Forum will be on the theme “The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World.” This theme encourages a forward-orientation in empirical, theoretical, and normative research to tackle the problems and opportunities that often cut across borders.
Preliminary program has already been presented. You can access it by visiting the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology. As in previous Newsletter we would like to draw your attention to the sessions proposed by the Research Committee 39 on Sociology of Disasters in this conference.
For questions about the sessions, the emails of the program coordinators and the session organizers are available on the conference website.
How to develop simple solutions for complex issues? Workshops on flood risk management in Europe
Jakub Lewandowski, Adam Choryński
Increased vulnerability due to urbanisation and climate change poses a challenge for flood risk management in different European regions. Thus, the important question is on to what extent flood risk management enhance societal resilience to flooding. It means taking diversified measures, not only those of structural protection but also green urban infrastructure, proactive spatial planning, insurances and emergency management. This diversified approach demands the collaboration of science, policy and practice which requires articulating the needs from policy and practice. These needs were addressed during international workshops organised during 2nd Disaster Risk Reduction Conference, hosted in Warsaw, 15-16 October 2015. The main workshops objectives were to validate the results obtained in the STAR-FLOOD project (www.starflood.eu) and to investigate whether flood risk governance systems in central European countries (CEE) are comparable with other European regions.
Flood risk management professionals from six CEE (i.e. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) were invited to share their knowledge and expertise. They emphasized that dominant structural approach (i.e. dikes, embankments) established and institutionalized during communist times is a shared experience for most postcommunist states and influence flood risk management to this day. Difference between former Eastern Bloc countries and ‘old’ EU member states was pointed out which still results in lack of strategic long-term planning.
However, experts agreed upon similarities between East, Central and West European countries. Managing flood risk is a complex issue and this requires either institutional and spatial fit between administrative borders and water basin areas. Thereby, international river basin management of Danube, Elbe or Odra remains quite a struggle flood risk management professionals. Its poor implementation which is also a challenge in other regions becomes a factor increasing flood risk. There have been different activities taken in this respect, like centralisation of spatial planning in case of Romania but it also requires intergovernmental collaboration.
Some improvements were also indicated during the workshops. Presence of the EU law (Water Framework Directive and Floods Directive) is often seen as a complete solution. What should be borne in mind, however, is a strong reliance on legislative measures, which has also been indicated by invited participants.
Foresight Review of Resilience Engineering
Events such as storms, earthquakes and conflicts can struck unexpectedly and last for a short period of time, or can be more predictable and longer term. What causes some businesses to survive change where others do not and why do some countries and cities thrive under change while others struggle remain an open question for both academics and practicioners. Thus Lloyd’s Register Foundation, the leading UK charity supporting engineering-related research and education worldwide, launched its Foresight review of resilience engineering in order to explore how systems withstand, respond and adapt to disruptive events. Building on the findings of this Foresight, the Foundation will identify aspects of resilience engineering to focus its research and grant giving to make a distinctive positive impact. More information on grant proposals is available here.
DCSCRN ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER
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: http://www.dcscrn.org.
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, Jakub Lewandowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Antti Silvast, DCSCRN Coordinator
Eugenia Petropoulou, DCSCRN Vice Coordinator
Jakub Lewandowski, E-Newsletter Editor