Culture, Hazard and Disaster

Authored by: Kenneth Hewitt

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698


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Culture is discussed as an influence on human affairs in many fields including disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management. However, in much of the latter, the primacy of scientific data and models is taken for granted and the focus tends to be on technical solutions, the work of professionally trained personnel, officials and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). There is often little awareness of, even resistance to, the idea that socio-cultural issues are key aspects of risk and disasters. If it is mentioned, culture is often seen more as an impediment to understanding and effective action. Indeed, it is widely assumed that disaster-related work is, or should be, simply driven by the ‘sovereign facts’: as close as possible to an exact mirror of environmental and societal realities.

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