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Invented Communities and Social Vulnerability: The Local Post-Disaster Dynamics of Extreme Environmental Events

Rolf Lidskog ()
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Rolf Lidskog: Environmental Sociology Section, School of Humanities, Educational and Social Sciences, Örebro University, 702 81 Örebro, Sweden

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 12, 1-19

Abstract: This paper investigates post-disaster dynamics at the local level, in particular how local identity and social cohesion are affected after an extreme event. A particular case is investigated: the largest forest fire in modern Swedish history, which took place in 2014. The empirical material consists of interviews with forest professionals and organizations involved with the fire or the post-fire work and a postal survey to all people directly affected by the wildfire. The analysis finds that the experience of the wildfire and its social interpretation led to the invention of a particular community identity, one that strengthened the self-understanding of the community. Thus, the post-disaster dynamics are pivotal for what social practices that emerge and what local identities are invented and thus may greatly affect the capacity of a community to handle extreme events.

Keywords: community resilience; disasters; extreme events; forest fires; invented communities; social vulnerability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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