Conference Agenda

RN08_04: Disaster Planning and Practice
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Eugenia Petropoulou, University of Crete, Greece
Location: UP.4.214
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road


The Ladies Came With Cookies. Gender Norms In Crisis Management

Erna Danielsson1, Kerstin Eriksson2

1Mid Sweden University, Sweden; 2RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

In this study we highlight the labor of women during the forest fire in the Swedish province of Västmanland 2014. The aim is to investigate what women do in a crisis situations and how this work is talked about by both men and women. Crisis management often reflects the traditional gender patterns that exist in society; women are “helping" mostly with service such as taking care of the home and children, while men are struggling with the fires, doing the hard work. This is reflected in the stories that are told after the fire, and recreate such a division of labor. In this article we tell stories about the labor of women that both follow and break these norms, and disclose what women gain or lose by following the standards. The result show that still, women are praise when they follow the traditional norm and bake cookies and are downgraded when performing what are seen as male coded tasks. The stories reveal norms about what a women is or is not, focusing on their age and clothing and directly or indirectly questions their ability and authority. The norms are also made visible by the positive attention women get when describing their resources (a tractor), as "real stuff", as the unique and different in the description of women.

Disasters And The Forces At Work Within Communities.

Graham Lewis Marsh

Coventry University, Australia

While this paper deals generally with Communities in relation to disaster management, one cannot ignore the developments occurring in the wider world which are having a major impact on the increasing number of disasters, on their severity and on their consequences on communities and even whole countries. Within this changing world, there are many residents currently excluded from a community’s development, and the consultation processes that are generally in place. These effects are often the consequences of Globalisation. Trends I have noted in research into demographic changes and subsequent vulnerability in communities in Australia, which are just as applicable to countries across the globe, are covered in this paper and these trends can only worsen if global warming leads to an increase in sea levels, droughts, floods, massive storms and fires with the subsequent displacement of whole communities.

The emphasis of this paper then in the light of such changing circumstance, is that it is even more important in the 21st Century that disaster management agencies, whilst recognising that in any one locality there may be any number of ‘community of interests’ who may not have much in common with each other, need to take more account of local community assessment of risks and local priorities if agency prevention, preparedness and training programmes are to effectively engage with the community in developing appropriate remediation strategies. This engagement is of relevance particularly where recovery is too often influenced by large private companies, with vested interests, anxious to benefit in the long term from the disaster and where emphasis in recovery discussions is on the views of male elites to the exclusion of those of female residents.

The Case of Västmanland: Unaffiliated Volunteers Use of Private Networks to Gain Acceptance

Sophie Kolmodin1,2

1Mid Sweden University, Sweden; 2Risk and Crisis Research Center

There is a growing expectation that volunteers of different kind will have a greater role in disaster management in the future compared to the past. Research shows that volunteers sometimes are regarded as a problem, they often lack relevant knowledge, education and an understanding of how crisis management work “normally is done”. However, a big part of Swedish-context based research only include emergency personnel or managers (police, military and fire brigades), or highly organized voluntary organizations that have a close connection to the official response operation such as the Red Cross and The home guard (national security forces). As a result, there´s a lack of studies using a bottom-up perspective, focusing on the narratives of unaffiliated volunteers.

Building on interviews with eleven unaffiliated volunteers that were active during the forest fire in the county of Västmanland in Sweden, the study aims to investigate how volunteers relate to the official response operation. Following a network perspective I discuss how volunteers used private networks to get approval to act and access information during the fire crisis. The analytical result show that different types of unaffiliated volunteers take on different type of tasks and that their use of private networks are highly dependent on the type of tasks being performed, distance to the official rescue service, place attachment and need of information and acceptance.

Sophie Kolmodin, PhD Student, Mid Sweden University