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Natural hazard events and social capital: the social impact of natural disasters
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government. Ctr Nat Disaster Sci, Uppsala, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Disasters. The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management, ISSN 0361-3666, E-ISSN 1467-7717, Vol. 42, no 2, p. 336-360Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigates if and to what extent natural disasters affect social capital. Twelve differentevents in Europe are examined in a quantitative analysis, using data derived from the EuropeanSocial Survey and the EM-DAT International Disaster Database. The study uses social trustas an indicator of social capital and offers evidence that a change in social trust is a possible occurrenceduring or after a disaster, but that it is not an inevitable consequence of it. The results revealthat social trust decreases after a disaster with a death toll of at least nine. Changes in socialcapital, therefore, are found to be more probable as the severity of the event increases. National,rather than regional, disasters lead more frequently to significant shifts in social trust. This evaluationof 12 separate cases pinpoints several disasters that have had an effect on social trust, but itdoes not identify any general patterns, underlining the significance of contextual dependency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 42, no 2, p. 336-360
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320615DOI: 10.1111/disa.12246ISI: 000426851400007PubMedID: 28857267OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-320615DiVA, id: diva2:1090172
Available from: 2017-04-23 Created: 2017-04-23 Last updated: 2018-05-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Social and Political Impact of Natural Disasters: Investigating Attitudes and Media Coverage in the Wake of Disasters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Social and Political Impact of Natural Disasters: Investigating Attitudes and Media Coverage in the Wake of Disasters
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Natural disasters are social and political phenomena. Social structures create vulnerability to natural hazards and governments are often seen as responsible for the effects of disasters. Do social trust, political trust, and government satisfaction therefore generally change following natural disasters? How can media coverage explain change in political attitudes? Prior research suggests that these variables are prone to change, but previous studies often focus on single cases, whereas this dissertation adopts a broader approach, examining multiple disasters. It investigates the social and political impact of natural disasters by examining their effect on social and political attitudes and by exploring media coverage as a mechanism underlying political consequences.

The results reveal that natural disasters may have a comparatively frequent, although small and temporary, effect on social trust. Substantial effects are less likely. Social trust was found to decrease significantly when disasters cause nine or more fatalities (Paper I). Political attitudes were expected to be prone to change after natural disasters, but Paper II illustrates that political trust and government satisfaction among citizens are generally hardly affected by these events. Finally, media framing and the political claims of actors explained the variation in political consequences after disasters of similar severity. Paper III also illustrates the importance of the political context of natural disasters, as their occurrence can be strategically exploited by actors to further criticism towards the government in politically tense situations.

This dissertation contributes to existing disaster research by investigating more cases than disaster studies typically do. It also uses a systematic case selection process, and a quantitative approach with a, for disaster research, unique research design. Hence, it offers methodological nuance to existing studies. A broader analysis, factoring in the variation of disaster severity and the increased number of cases offers new answers and tests assumptions about underlying patterns. The main contribution of this thesis is that it examines how common political and social effects of disasters are. Furthermore, this dissertation contributes to existing disasters research by emphasizing contextual and explanatory factors, e.g., properties of disasters and the political context that affects the media coverage of natural disasters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. p. 61
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 143
Keywords
Natural disasters in Europe, social capital, social trust, sociology of disasters, politics of disasters, political trust, satisfaction with the government, government accountability, media coverage of disasters, media framing, claims-making, political claims
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320680 (URN)978-91-554-9922-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-09, Sal 3312, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-18 Created: 2017-04-23 Last updated: 2017-06-07

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Albrecht, Frederike

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