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Session Overview
RN08_10a_P: Linking Disaster Research and Conflict Theory
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Cordula Dittmer, Freie Universität Berlin
Location: PC.6.32
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 6.

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Civil Society and Disaster Resilience in Turkey

Oya Acikalin

Karamanoglu Mehmetbey University, Turkey

Civil society accumulated considerable knowledge and experience after the 1999 Marmara earthquakes in Turkey regarding emergency help, recovery, reconstruction and risk mitigation. This presentation questions whether this accumulation has contributed to society’s resilience locally and nationally, following the Van earthquakes in 2011. The Marmara experience produced significant progress in certain aspects while stayed deficient in others concerning disaster resilient society. This presentation compares Marmara and Van experiences to identify the vital points in civil societal participation in building up resilience, and it discusses the historical-societal circumstances under which, how and to what extent this becomes possible. The comparison is part of a meta-analysis based on 150 texts written in the 2000’s on the social aspects of post-disaster efforts over a century in Turkey. The findings indicate that traditional societal-cultural-personal resilience in both cases help manage negative impacts despite economic and political weaknesses, while it indirectly plays a negative role in developing resilience against disasters. The underlying factors include the historical relationships patterned among individuals, society and the state, which affect the autonomies of personality, society, culture, economics and politics; their efficient coordination constituted over antagonistic-agonistic struggles; and the egalitarian-inclusive characteristics of community-based organizations. The literature on civil society’s contributions to post-disaster efforts concentrates mainly on the first six months of the Marmara practice; the rest of Marmara experience and its comparison with other cases remain partial, if not missing. This presentation is a contribution to fulfilling this gap.

Which growth model is the “fairest of them all”? Striving for equality and inclusiveness in times of austerity.

Sotiria Liakaki

Independent Researcher, Greece

In this paper, we will attempt to shed light on the content of the public debate that accompanies the concepts of growth and social justice in crisis-ridden Greece during the last two years.

Emphasis will be given to the repertoire of ideas invoked and policy measures implemented in various fields by the SYRIZA-led government, whose reference to and use of the "fair growth" term are omnipresent in its public discourse, encompassing an important conceptual and strategic role for said government’s policy choices.

First, our contribution will attempt to discern the very concept of the “fair growth” notion as well as the complex nexus of social justice, economic growth and equality of opportunity through a systematic examination of the “equitable” and “inclusive” growth approaches encountered in literature and research.

Secondly, this conceptual endeavor will be followed by an attempt to identify “fair growth” instances in current Greek public policy. What measures could be considered as promoting "fair growth" and what does it mean in terms of governance and democratic participation?

Thirdly, utilizing theoretical tools introduced and elaborated by the Quality of Government Institute (University of Gothenburg), we will turn to the crucial relationship between quality of government, equality and growth in search of policies enhancing social cohesion.

Finally, in our closing remarks we will conclude with a brief but concise note on the ideological and political framing of the Eurozone crisis. Is there any “window of opportunity” left for pursuing the “fair growth” model, not only within each member-state but also in the context of the EU as a whole?

“We had everything and it belonged to us, and now we just have a bunch of donated stuff!”—Gainers and losers before, during, and after the 2013 flooding in Germany

Cordula Dittmer, Daniel Lorenz, Jessica Reiter, Martin Voss

Disaster Research Unit, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Disasters expose previously existing social positions and societal power structures, as well as their dynamic reorganization. According to Bourdieu, social positions and power relations are depending on the individuals’ possession of economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital. We view disasters as social processes characterized by radical changes in the value of specific capitals, which in turn substantially influences the social environment. Through the perspective of those affected by the 2013 flooding in Germany, we analyze these variant positioning processes, the shifting and revaluation of capital, as well as the dynamic positioning of individuals. Additionally, we will present a theoretical model based on work by Bourdieu that, with the help of the revaluation of capital, exemplifies the extent to which the flooding affected individuals. Through qualitative and quantitative research, we demonstrate the emergence of “losers” and “gainers” within the context of the disaster.

We pay particular attention to the conflict between the total loss of previous values, the reconstruction of the material environment, and the subjective perceptions of affected individuals through which the gains and losses associated with disasters are socially processed.

Are the Nordic Welfare States prepared? Legal obligations and contingency planning of local social services in a disaster context

Guðný Björk Eydal, Ingibjörg Lilja Ómarsdóttir

University of Iceland, Iceland

The Nordic Welfare states are known for their strong systems of social security and services but little is known about their roles in times of disasters. The aim of the paper is to present conclusions from the research project The Nordic Welfare Watch - in Response to Crisis. It asks whether the local social services have a formal role in the contingency planning of the emergency management systems in the Nordic countries. Few case studies (Cuadra, 2015; Rapeli, 2015; Eydal and Ingimarsdóttir, 2012) have been conducted in the Nordic countries, hence this is the first comparative research project of its kind. Primary data from policy documents and legislation was analysed and compared in order to examine if and how the role of local social services is addressed in the legislation on emergency management systems and social services in the five Nordic countries. Scholars and stakeholders from all the five Nordic countries worked on the project that was led by following scholars, in addition to the authors of the paper: Carin Cuadra, Sweden, Rasmus Dahlberg, Denmark, Bjørn Hvinden, Norway, Merja Rapeli, Finland and Tapio Salonen, Sweden. The conclusions of the project show that the countries in question have chosen different paths when addressing the role of the local social services. In order to fully make use of its potential in the aim of enhancing resilience and decreasing vulnerability both on individual and community level, ways to increase comprehensive collaboration between the countries and the relevant sectors are recommended.

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