Panel 5 – Governing ethics, accountability, and data in disasters

Conveners:  Nathan Clark (University of Copenhagen), Kristoffer Albris (University of Copenhagen), Paolo Cavaliere (University of Delaware) and Femke Mulder (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Abstract: Disasters are becoming digital. More and more, professional disaster management systems and bottom-up, volunteer initiatives processes rely on (big) data, digital technologies, social media platforms and geospatial information to assess risks, organize recovery efforts, and perform early warnings. There is indeed a sense that the digital revolution in its various guises and expressions has already had profound effects on the conduct and theory of disaster governance, while holding even greater potentials for the future (Palen and Anderson 2016). Yet the use of digital technologies and data for disaster governance also brings with it a number of unaddressed and unanswered challenges and issues (Alexander 2014). For instance, how are citizens’ rights of anonymity, privacy, security and data ownership guaranteed when they contribute – knowingly or unknowingly – to disaster management efforts through social media and other digital platforms? How do the uses – and potential misuses – of digital technologies and data in disaster management affect questions of liability and responsibility? How do authorities and communities react to misinformation and “fake news” in disaster situations? What sorts of questions does the issue of data sensitivity for aid relief in complex emergencies present us with? How do rules, norms and practices shape disaster technologies and vice versa? These are just some of the questions at stake in the politics and ethics of the use of data and digital technologies in disasters and emergencies. They also give rise to broader lines of enquiry. Under the ethics and accountability lens, practitioners and scholars should ask whether a certain action can bring any benefit or can undermine both response and the integrity of either an agency, organization or the state. How can we address complex ethics and accountability issues that relate to the overall disaster governance? Crucially, the plethora of new digital innovations in disasters and emergencies occur at different scales, from the local to the global levels, and in different tempi, from immediate to long-term implications, which often makes it hard to comparatively discuss their ethical and political implications. For this panel, we invite papers that analyse disaster governance and deal critically with how (big) data, social media platforms, GIS and remote sensing technologies, and other emerging digital technologies, are being used throughout all phases of the disaster management cycle, as well as in humanitarian emergencies. We especially encourage papers that simultaneously address theoretical questions and practice-oriented problems.

Panel 15 – Post-disaster resiliency: Planning to meet community needs during the short-term recovery phase

Conveners: Claire Connolly Knox (School of Public Administration and National Center for Integrated Coastal Research, University of Central Florida) and Lauren A. Clay (Health Services Administration Department, D’Youville College; Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware)

Abstract: Billion-dollar disasters have steadily increased in the U.S. and abroad, which has focused our attention to community resiliency. In the U.S., 2017 and 2018 were two of the most costly years for natural disasters thus far. Specifically, the 2017 Hurricane Season – markedly Harvey, Irma, and Maria – caused an estimated $265 to $306 billion in damages and greatly tested the level of disaster resilience in the affected communities (NOAA 2018). Disaster resilience, often mistaken as the opposite of vulnerability, is the ability for individuals, communities, or society to prepare and plan for, absorb, respond, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. All disasters are local and communities continue to struggle to meet their needs during the short-term recovery phase.

Post-disaster resilience is multi-faceted. While scholars have studied various aspects of community resiliency in the growing literature, there remain gaps in the scientific literature related to emergency management. Most notably (1) meeting community needs during short-term recovery phase following a disaster as evidenced by the prolonged processes and stress associated with disaster recovery; (2) reported health and well-being outcomes by families, communities, and institutions affected by disaster; and (3) translating lessons learned during the short-term recovery phase into long-term recovery and resiliency planning efforts (Kendra, Clay, and Gill 2018; Knox 2017).

This panel will examine approaches to bolstering resilience at the individual, community, institutional, and policy levels. Papers focused on approaches to resilience from different country settings, methodological, and disciplinary perspectives as well as interdisciplinary approaches; studies of resilience at multiple levels such as individual, community, institutional, and policy levels; examples or exemplars of resilience building interventions; studies that have been translated into action; and practical, empirical, or theoretical work are encouraged.

Long Abstract:Billion-dollar disasters have steadily increased in the U.S. and abroad, which has focused our attention to community resiliency. In the U.S., 2017 and 2018 were two of the most costly years for natural disasters thus far. Specifically, the 2017 Hurricane Season, most notably Harvey, Irma, and Maria, caused an estimated $265 to $306 billion in damages and tested affected communities level of disaster resilience (NOAA 2018). Disaster resilience, often mistaken as the opposite of vulnerability, is the ability for individuals, communities, or society to prepare and plan for, absorb, respond, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. All disasters are local and communities continue to struggle to meet their needs during the short-term recovery phase.

Post-disaster resilience is multi-faceted. While scholars have studied various aspects of community resiliency in the growing literature, there remain gaps in the scientific literature related to emergency management. Most notably (1) meeting community needs during short-term recovery phase following a disaster as evidenced by the prolonged processes and stress associated with disaster recovery, (2) reported health and well-being outcomes by families, communities, and institutions affected by disaster, and (3) translating lessons learned during the short-term recovery phase into long-term recovery and resiliency planning efforts (Kendra et al. 2018; Knox 2017).

Measuring community resilience is challenging; however, it is imperative especially if “communities want to track their progress towards resiliency and target efforts where they most need to improve.” (National Research Council 2012:12). The strategic goals and targets for resiliency and long-term planning often stem from recommendations and lessons learned during the response and short-term recovery phases (Knox 2013). While long-term recovery planning is a critical element of a community’s resiliency, it is often underutilized because of a lack of capacity at the local government level. Multiple types of capacities are needed for resiliency, including community, economic, infrastructure, institutional, and social (Ross 2016; Cutter et al. 2010). Lacking one or more of these capacities can lead to repeated failures, repeated policy and organizational recommendations, and an unequal distribution of goods and services during and after natural or man-made disasters (Knox 2013; Hu et al. 2014; Kim & Marcouiller 2016).

There are disparities in the distribution of disaster risk in a community and disparities in the adverse consequences following disaster exposure. Racial and ethnic minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged are recognized as health disparity populations and experience a disproportionate burden of adverse consequences following disasters due to lack of English proficiency, culturally appropriate risk communication, systemic poverty, segregation, substandard education, and social and political marginalization (Fothergill & Peek 2004; Purtle 2012). Before an event, individuals with inadequate access to health services, high prevalence of chronic illness, and limited capital are less likely to be in a position to prepare for a disaster (Honore 2008). When a disruption or disaster occurs, these are the same populations that require additional resources such as transportation assistance and health services for the treatment of chronic health conditions. Compounding the problem, following disasters, we often see changes in the health care landscape from temporary closures to relocation and permanent closure of facilities resulting in disruptions to continuity of care and access issues in low-income and minority communities (Ford et al. 2006; Guglielmo 2006; Krol et al. 2007). While disparities are exacerbated during disasters, the public attention on inequity presents an opportunity to leverage the attention and influx of resources to improve health equity and bolster resilience for those most vulnerable.

This panel will examine approaches to bolstering resilience at the individual, community, institutional, and policy levels. Papers focused on approaches to resilience from different country settings, methodological, and disciplinary perspectives as well as interdisciplinary approaches; studies of resilience at multiple levels such as individual, community, institutional, and policy levels; examples or exemplars of resilience building interventions; studies that have been translated into action; and practical, empirical, or theoretical work are encouraged.

References

 

Cutter, S. L., Burton, C. G., & Emrich, C. T. (2010). Disaster resilience indicators for benchmarking baseline conditions. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 7(1).

Ford, E. S., Mokdad, A. H., Link, M. W., Garvin, W. S., McGuire, L. C., Jiles, R. B., & Balluz, L. S. (2006). Chronic disease in health emergencies: In the eye of the hurricane. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(2), A46. doi:A46 [pii]

Fothergill, A., & Peek, L. A. (2004). Poverty and disasters in the united states: A review of recent sociological findings. Natural Hazards, 32(1), 89-110.

Guglielmo, W. J. (2006). New orleans’ doctors: Still MIA. Medical Economics, 83(6), 17.

Honore, R. L. (2008). Health disparities: Barriers to a culture of preparedness. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice : JPHMP, 14 Suppl, S5-7. doi:10.1097/01.PHH.0000338381.29071.d6 [doi]

Hu, Q., Knox, C. C., & Kapucu, N. (2014). What Have We Learned Since September 11, 2001? A Network Study of the Boston Marathon Bombings Response. Public Administration Review, 74(6), 698-712.

Kendra, J. M., Clay, L. A., & Gill, K. B. (2018). Resilience and disasters. Handbook of disaster research (pp. 87-107) Springer.

Kim, H. & Marcouiller, D.W. (2016). Natural Disaster Response, Community Resilience, and Economic Capacity: A Case Study of Coastal Florida, Society & Natural Resources, 29:8, 981-997.

Knox, C. C. (2013). Analyzing After Action Reports from Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina: Repeated, Modified, and Newly Created Recommendations. Journal of Emergency Management, 11(2), 160-168.

Knox, C. C. (2017). A Football Field Lost Every 45 Minutes: Evaluating Local Capacity to Implement Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. Coastal Management Journal, 45(3), 233-252.

Krol, D. M., Redlener, M., Shapiro, A., & Wajnberg, A. (2007). A mobile medical care approach targeting underserved populations in post-hurricane katrina mississippi. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 18(2), 331-340.

National Research Council. (2012). Disaster resilience: A national imperative. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2018). https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/

Purtle, J. (2012). Racial and ethnic disparities in post-disaster mental health: Examining the evidence through a lens of social justice. Wash.& Lee J.Civil Rts.& Soc.just., 19, 31.Ford, E. S., Mokdad, A. H., Link, M. W., Garvin, W. S., McGuire, L. C., Jiles, R. B., & Balluz, L. S. (2006). Chronic disease in health emergencies: In the eye of the hurricane. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(2), A46. doi:A46 [pii]

Ross, A. D. (2016). Perceptions of Resilience Among Coastal Emergency Managers. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, 7(1), 4-24.

Panel 12 – Crisis governance: Taking on the grand challenges

Conveners: Jeroen Wolbers (Leiden University), Sanneke Kuipers (Leiden University), Kees Boersma (VU University Amsterdam), and Charles Parker (Uppsala University)

Abstract: The purpose of this track is to bring together cutting-edge papers on the topic of crisis governance. Crisis governance is a complex process that has many facets. In its basic form crisis governance is about reducing the impact of a negative, intolerable event. As a crisis forms a threat to the basic structures or the fundamental values and norms of a system, crisis governance requires making vital decisions under time pressure in highly uncertain circumstances (Rosenthal et al., 1989). It entails ad-hoc organizing, directing and forging cooperation, enabling workarounds, but also taking symbolic measures that provide direction and guidance (Boin et al., 2013).

Traditionally, concepts like sensemaking, (Weick, 1993), decision-making (Klein, 1993), coordination (Comfort, 2007), meaning-making (Rosenthal et al., 2001), and accountability (Kuipers & ‘t Hart, 2014) have been central in the study of crisis governance (Hällgren et al., 2018). Recently, important developments have been noted pertaining to the shape of a crisis, such as the transboundary crisis (Boin, 2018), institutional crisis (Schmidt et al., 2017; cf. Boin and ‘t Hart 2000), and in its underlying dynamic, such as the role of fragmentation (Wolbers et al., 2018). The field has also been informed by other emergent topics associated, for instance, with disaster risk reduction in multi-level governance settings.

Despite the growing attention for crisis governance (Kuipers & Welsh, 2017; Hällgren et al., 2018), we still face a number of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological challenges in our field that are crucial to address in the NEEDS community.

  • First, crisis governance is normally studied as a unique event through single case studies, making it difficult to compare across cases (Roux-Dufort, 2007). We could develop a more systematic understanding of the similarities and differences across cases. We call for papers that provide systematic analyses and comparative case studies to identify and theorize patterns across crises and disasters.
  • Second, an important issue in crisis research is hindsight bias, which occurs when studies focus predominantly on tracing back the cause of failure in a crisis. Indeed, much of our knowledge is based on the (historical) reconstruction of crisis governance. We call for studies that use in-depth and real-time data on crisis governance processes, despite of its positive or negative outcome.
  • Third, we lack an encompassing model to explain the effectiveness of crisis governance. Contextual factors seem to have a large role in explaining whether crisis response is effective or not, but can we develop a more generic model that theorizes when crisis governance is effective?

We would like to challenge our fellow academics to advance our knowledge of crisis governance, and call on you to bring forth your own ideas in empirical or conceptual papers on crisis governance that address these challenges and stimulate our discussion at NEEDS4.

The track is hosted by the Leiden University Crisis Research Center (CRC) and the VU Amsterdam in collaboration with the Department of Government and the Center for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS) at Uppsala University.

References

Boin, A. and P. ‘t Hart (2000). Institutional Crises and Reforms in Policy Sectors. Government Institutions: Effects, Changes and Normative Foundations, Boston, MA: Kluwer. H. Wagenaar. Boston, Kluwer Press: 9-31.

Boin, A., Kuipers, S., & Overdijk, W. (2013). Leadership in times of crisis: A framework for assessment. International Review of Public Administration18(1), 79-91.

Boin, A. (2018). The Transboundary Crisis: Why we are unprepared and the road ahead. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

Comfort, L. K. (2007). Crisis management in hindsight: Cognition, communication, coordination, and control. Public Administration Review67, 189-197.

Hällgren, M., Rouleau, L., & De Rond, M. (2018). A matter of life or death: How extreme context research matters for management and organization studies. Academy of Management Annals, 12(1), 111-153.

Klein, G. A. (1993). A recognition-primed decision (RPD) model of rapid decision making (pp. 138-147). New York: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Kuipers, S., & Welsh, N. H. (2017). Taxonomy of the Crisis and Disaster Literature: Themes and Types in 34 Years of Research. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy,8(4), 272-283.

Kuipers, S., & ‘t Hart, P.(2014)Accounting for Crises, Oxford Handbook of Public Accountability, 589-602

Rosenthal, U., M. Charles and P. ’t Hart. (Eds.) (1989). Coping with Crisis: The Management of Disasters, Riots and Terrorism. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas

Rosenthal, U., Boin, R. A., & Comfort, L. K. (2001). The changing world of crises and crisis management. Managing crises: Threats, dilemmas, opportunities, 5-27.

Roux‐Dufort, C. (2007). Is crisis management (only) a management of exceptions? Journal of contingencies and crisis management15(2), 105-114.

Schmidt, A., Boersma, K., & Groenewegen, P. (2018). Management strategies in response to an institutional crisis: The case of earthquakes in the Netherlands. Public Administration.

Weick, K. E. (1993). The collapse of sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch disaster. Administrative science quarterly, 628-652.

Wolbers, J., Boersma, K., & Groenewegen, P. (2018). Introducing a Fragmentation Perspective on Coordination in Crisis Management. Organization Studies, 39(11), pp. 1521–1546.

Panel 14 – Blown out of proportion: When media, literature and popular culture scale events

Conveners: Michael Hutt and Stefanie Lotter (SOAS, University of London)

Abstract: The process of producing news and witnessing disaster has shaped how we understand and relate to natural and man-made crises and their aftermath. It is through media after all, that most of us encounter disaster. While we see the crucial need to mobilise international solidarity to create the means for post-disaster agency, we also acknowledge that the emotional discourse of disaster news can be problematic in its creation of victimhood and selective compassionate action.

Taking media as a starting point for our analysis of disaster and crisis, and contrasting ‘news’ with literary productions as well as plays or lyrics that speak of the same events, will allow us to reflect on the notion of scale in a variety of ways. Scale in the context of mediated disaster is linked to severity, scaling the event as local, national and international news. While new media subverts these categories, it is literature and popular culture that gives individual interpretation a historical dimension and an afterlife.

Rather than scientifically measuring particular disasters, this panel will address the ways in which public cultures, media and literature create and negotiate the fields in which disastrous events are communicated. Reporting and describing disaster makes use of contextual scaling to reach audiences and to make disaster globally visible. Social Media, satellite imagery and mobile phone videos have led to what Thompson termed ‘the transformation of visibility” (Thompson 2006) , a process that has shifted responsibilities as well as the measurement of accountability.

The panel aims to address the field between subjectivity and scale in the realm of media, literature and popular culture. Papers may reflect on social, political or historical scales, relating local, national and global perspectives. Papers may also conceptualise scale as disproportion, situating a single events or individual experience within any particular genre of communicating disaster.

Long Abstract:The process of producing news and witnessing disaster has shaped how we understand and relate to natural and man-made crises and their aftermath. It is through media after all, that most of us encounter disaster. While we see the crucial need to mobilise local, national and international solidarity to create the means for post-disaster agency, we also acknowledge that the emotional discourse of disaster news can be problematic in its creation of victimhood and selective compassionate action.

Taking media as a starting point for our analysis of disaster and crisis, and contrasting ‘news’ with literary productions as well as plays and music that speak of the same events, will allow us to reflect on the notion of scale in a variety of ways. Scale in the context of mediated disaster is linked to severity, scaling the event as local, national and international news. While new media subverts these categories, it is literature and popular culture that gives individual interpretation a historical dimension and an afterlife.

Media has been a biased tool ever since the first internationally mediated disaster in 1755 – the earthquake of Lisbon – struck. While this event inspired international news reports discussing relief efforts, it also prompted the production of literature. Rousseau dismissed city life as a result of the earthquake concluding that clustered living increased casualties, while Voltaire critiqued the idea of divine punishment in his earthquake poem and through the personal accounts of the fictional characters of Candide and Doctor Pangloss who experience the earthquake but – despite the disaster – adhere to philosophical optimism.

Today post-disaster media reports, literature and popular culture are no less diverse in scaling events by invoking narratives of cosmological and climatic change, assessing disaster relief needs and reporting and envisioning individual fate. Rather than scientifically measuring particular disasters, this panel will address the ways in which public cultures, media and literature create and negotiate the fields in which disastrous events are communicated.

Reporting and describing disaster makes use of contextual scaling to reach audiences and to make disaster globally visible. Social Media, satellite imagery and mobile phone videos have led to what Thompson termed ‘the transformation of visibility” (1995,2006), a process that has shifted responsibilities as well as the measurement of accountability.

Most strikingly however, social media has reintroduced the emotional discourse of disaster that had temporarily been relegated to the subjective realm of literature and popular culture while ‘news’ had scaled events and compared suffering. Bias and disproportion in the media can be seen through the discriminating lens of history that has led newspapers in 1755 to report prominently on the sufferings of royalty while contemporary news insists on ignoring black victimhood.

Today an affective public requests individual experience while social media descales previously established measures of proportion.

The panel aims to address the field between subjectivity and scale in the realm of media, literature and popular culture discussing any historical or contemporary disaster. Papers may reflect on social, political or historical scales, relating local, national and global perspectives. Papers may also conceptualise scale as disproportion, situating a single events or individual experience within any particular genre of communicating disaster.

References:

Thompson, John B. 2005. The new visibility. Theory, Culture and Society 22(6): 31-51.

Voltaire, Francois Marie. 1925. “Le Poeme sur le Desastre de Lisbonne en 1755, au Examen de cet Axiome: Tout est bien (1756)”; the text, in French, of the entire poeme is found in George R. Havens, Selections From

Voltaire (New York: Century Pub. Co., 1925), pp. 246-258.

Voltaire, Francois Marie. 1759. Candide Translation Tobias Smollett.

J. J. ROUSSEAU, “Lettre a M. de Voltaire, It 18 aout, 1756,” Oeuvres et Correspondance inedites de J. J. Rousseau.

 

 

 

Panel 13 – Accessibility in emergency preparedness

Conveners: Dawid Wladyka and Katarzyna Sepielak (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

Abstract: World Health Organization estimates over 1 billion people living with some form of disability worldwide. They account for 15% of global population, including up to 4% of the 15 and older people living with significant difficulties in functioning. Moreover, due to the expanding life expectancy and aging, the disability rates are continuously increasing. At the same time, people with a disability are among the groups most vulnerable to disasters including increased risk of loss of life, insufficient care, and more challenging recovery. On the other hand, the onset of disasters is one of the drivers for further increasing disability rates in the hazard vulnerable areas. These vulnerabilities are especially relevant when coexisting with other socio-economic disadvantages including poverty, migratory status or language proficiency. In the areas with significant presence of foreign populations, the presence of communities that struggle with dominant language proficiency is not uncommon. Both disabilities and linguistic barriers could result with unfamiliarity with evacuation procedures, cause the warnings to go unnoticed, the risks to be assessed inadequately, and hinder recovery from emergencies. Moreover, this increased vulnerability does not stop at the disadvantaged groups but has a potential to expose larger community at risk. For example, the caregivers are exposed to higher rates of poverty due to increased caring after the disaster.

This panel discusses disabilities together with other coexisting disaster vulnerabilities in hazard prone areas. It aims to explore many interlaced issues like accessible local emergency preparedness materials published on websites of local authorities, discrepancies and unequal dissemination of information across the regions, including overall access to emergency preparedness information, language translations, source of content, types of media used and their accessibility to vulnerable groups. The discussion will also focus on the problem of awareness of the local stakeholders regarding the linguistic needs of the population, as well as their perspectives on the engagement of vulnerable groups through collaborative partnerships during planning in non-emergency times, including the implementation of translation and interpreting, and the problem of the effectiveness of functional need support services in the emergency shelters.

Long abstract: World Health Organization estimates over 1 billion people living with some form of disability worldwide. They account for 15% of global population, including up to 4% of the 15 and older people living with significant difficulties in functioning. Moreover, due to the expanding life expectancy and aging, the disability rates are continuously increasing. At the same time, people with a disability are among the groups most vulnerable to disasters. Studies provide evidence indicating the increased risk of loss of life, insufficient care, and more challenging recovery. On the other hand, the onset of disasters is one of the drivers for further increasing physical disability rates in the hazard vulnerable areas. These vulnerabilities are especially relevant when coexisting with other socio-economic disadvantages including poverty, migratory status or language proficiency. In the areas with significant presence of foreign populations, the presence of communities that struggle with dominant language proficiency is not uncommon. For example, both disabilities and linguistic barriers could result with unfamiliarity with evacuation procedures, cause the warnings to go unnoticed, the risks to be assessed inadequately, and hinder recovery from emergencies. Moreover, this increased vulnerability does not stop at the disadvantaged groups themselves but has a potential to expose larger community at risk. For example, the caregivers are exposed to higher rates of poverty due to increased caring after the disaster.

While there are still many uncertainties regarding the accessibility issues during a developing disaster event, some policies already enforce or recommend development of accessible emergency preparedness. For example, insufficient resources and services to accommodate most people with a disability in appropriate shelters prompted Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States to publish guidelines aimed at integrating people with disabilities into general population shelters, and Functional Need Support Services toolkits were introduced as a guideline to existing and new shelters. Nonetheless, research indicates obstacles in adopting those regulations, including overwhelmed emergency managers and lack of expertise. On the other hand, one needs to remember that information is a pillar of disaster resiliency and plays a major role in all phases of emergency management. In the United States, some policies already enforce accessible emergency preparedness information. Federal entities mandate that vulnerable populations must have access to and cannot be excluded from emergency plans and programs. However, those policies are not necessarily comprehensive. Only some broadcasting modes are mandated to be accessible locally, while regulations on websites apply exclusively at the federal level. This approach is far from empowering emergency management best practices at the local level. It negatively affects diversification of information sources and “universalization” of accessibility, i.e. reaching various vulnerable groups with use of a common modality, like captions that can be used by various groups, including hard of hearing and foreign immigrants.

This panel discusses disabilities together with other coexisting disaster vulnerabilities in hazard prone areas. It aims to explore many interlaced issues like accessible local emergency preparedness materials published on websites of local authorities, discrepancies and unequal dissemination of information across the regions, including overall access to emergency preparedness information, language translations, source of content, types of media used and their accessibility to vulnerable groups. The discussion will also focus on the problem of awareness of the local stakeholders regarding the linguistic needs of the population, as well as their perspectives on the engagement of vulnerable groups through collaborative partnerships during planning in non-emergency times, including the implementation of translation and interpreting, and the problem of the effectiveness of functional need support services in the emergency shelters.

Panel 11 – Institutional learning in times of increased refugee movements and humanitarian crises

Conveners: Patricia Schütte (Public Safety and Emergency Management, Bergische Universität Wuppertal) and Cordula Dittmer (Disaster Research Unit (DRU), Freie Universität Berlin) 

Abstract: At the peak of the increased refugee movement from the Middle East to Central Europe between late summer 2015 and spring 2016, public institutions, disaster relief organizations, and civil society faced circumstances that some labeled the “refugee crisis”. In many European countries, relevant stakeholders instantly operated at full capacity and formed ad-hoc networks to tackle the overwhelming situation in a cooperative approach. Such responses can been found in other (humanitarian) crisis situations and evoke the question how institutional learning takes place and can be facilitated.

Applicants to this panel are invited to contribute to the following topics (but not limited to):

– Evaluation of experiences during the refugee movements, and other (humanitarian) crisis situations: How do the specific circumstances influence relevant stakeholders and their interorganisational collaboration? Which specific types of cooperation and ad-hoc measures can be identified? Which challenges and opportunities unfold in the collaboration of stakeholders?

– Strengthening stakeholders for future crises:

o Which “good practices” and “lessons learned” can be identified and worked up for similar crisis situations in the future? How can stakeholders (jointly) prepare for crises to be able to act together?

– Promoting interorganisational learning:

o How to design a sustainable knowledge management that integrates all perspectives and necessary package of measures in order to support key actors when dealing with challenges in the future? How and what can they learn together? How can technology facilitate interorganizational learning?

– Theoretical and conceptual perspectives on institutional learning:

o Which concepts and theories are already used? Are new concepts/theories emerging? What is specific for concepts such as learning and knowledge in the field of crisis and disaster management?

Long Abstract:At the peak of the increased refugee movement from the Middle East to Central Europe between late summer 2015 and spring 2016, public institutions, disaster relief organizations, and civil society faced circumstances that some labeled the “refugee crisis”. In many European countries, relevant stakeholders instantly operated at full capacity and formed ad-hoc networks to tackle the overwhelming situation in a cooperative approach.

Such responses can been found in other (humanitarian) crisis situations and evoke the question how institutional learning takes place and can be facilitated.

In order to preserve organizational knowledge over time, a knowledge management system needs to be maintained. Organizations themselves do not have a memory per se. And individuals change their positions, they retire, they leave, which makes it hard to keep knowledge in a systematized manner.

Good practices and modes of cooperation are currently more a kind of a “black box” when taking a closer look at how stakeholders adapt to crisis situations, how they built up their ad-hoc networks, what their successes and failures were. It can be assumed that, especially in such demanding situations, there are no additional personal resources to keep an extra eye on management approaches in real time. Even at “peace time” resources for extensive wrap-ups are scarce. Therefore, it is little wonder that detailed documentation and evaluations of approaches, responses, practices in situations such as the increased refugee movement 2015/16 are often missing. Without such documentation and evaluation organizations might “forget” how they acted once and, in the last resort, repeat their own mistakes in future crises or use up valuable resources to re-invent approaches, responses and practices.

Panel 10 – Inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters

Conveners: Sara Bondesson (Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defence University, and Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS)) and Frederike Albrecht (Department of Government and Department for Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, and Centre for Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS))

Abstract: In light of increasingly devastating natural hazards affecting societies marked by gendered, racial and economic inequalities, this panel convenes research on inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters. Structural inequalities based on gender, age, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, sexuality or economic status are generally connected with uneven distribution of risks in relation to natural hazards such as storms, floods or earthquakes. Already marginalized groups are often unequally affected. Scholars have focused mostly on gendered effects of disasters, but apart from such research, this panel also seeks to explore a few interconnected topics. The panel invites scholars who make use of diverse theoretical and methodological approaches. We welcome research that integrates intersectional theory into disaster studies to learn more about how different types of marginalization interconnect in disaster contexts. Researchers focusing on how norms of masculinity operate in disaster situations are also welcome. Empirical studies on shifts and changes in gender roles in the aftermath of disasters are moreover of interest. We further invite discursive readings of underlying gendered assumptions or other conceptual logics that mark the fields of disaster management, disaster risk reduction or climate change adaptation. By discussing on-going research on these understudied topics, the panel will gather critical insights about urgent issues of inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters.

Long Abstract:In light of increasingly devastating natural hazards affecting societies marked by gendered, racial and economic inequalities, this panel convenes research on inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters. Structural inequalities based on gender, age, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, sexuality or economic status are generally connected with uneven distribution of risks in relation to natural hazards such as storms, floods or earthquakes. Already marginalized groups are often unequally affected. Yet social inequality and disasters are intertwined in complex ways. While social inequality produces heightened vulnerability for some groups, disasters often fuel further reproduction of social inequality. However, some research instead points to how disasters sometimes function as opportunities for transformation of power imbalances.

So far, scholars have focused mostly on gendered effects of disasters, and this growing body of research provides important knowledge for anyone interested in disaster related inequalities and structurally differentiated vulnerability. Apart from such research, this panel also seeks to explore a few interconnected, yet understudied topics. The panel invites scholars who make use of diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to study issues of inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters.

Firstly, by integrating intersectional theory into research on disasters, scholars may explore how different types of marginalization interconnect in disaster contexts. Secondly, research that critically reflects on discursively dominant assumptions about women’s vulnerability is needed. Such research may for example problematize how categories of men and women are constituted in dualistic, stereotyping manners, which in turn renders non-binary communities invisible in disaster management and risk reduction. Furthermore, research that explores the discursive boundaries of the policy fields of for example Disaster Risk Reduction or Climate Change Adaptation will be included. These policy fields are often grounded in apolitical techno-managerial narratives and further research would provide insights into whether and how this limit the thinkable range of possible political solutions to disaster inequalities. Finally, scholarship on men and masculinities has put attention on how norms of masculinity operate in disaster ridden societies, yet more research on this topic is warranted. Such research may also be linked to empirical studies on shifts and changes in gender roles in the aftermath of disasters. By discussing on-going research on these understudied topics, the panel will gather critical insights about urgent issues of inequality, vulnerability and intersectionality in relation to disasters.