Learn more about this year's 35 panels in a wide range of topics.

Panel descriptions

Anticipatory governance – Dealing with uncertain futures

The anticipation of futures plays an increasing role in emergency management. Future Emergencies pose challenges in the handling of uncertainty and non-knowledge. Aspects of future governance or anticipatory governance (Fuerth 2009; Quay 2010; Guston 2013; Muiderman et al. 2020) aim to address these challenges. Imagining and governing the future has become a core challenge for research and practice alike (Muiderman et al. 2020), to seek insights into anticipatory practices, their risks and uses (Boyd et al. 2015). Concerning the decisions in the field of disaster risk and emergency management several practices of anticipation (Anderson 2010) evolved to deal with uncertainty or are imaginable to make the future ascertainable, conceivable, “ready-at-hand” (Neisser, Runkel 2017).

Which perspectives regarding potential events emerge from this and which challenges face decision makers in disaster risk and emergency management? What are the limits of practices of anticipation? Which challenges arise from that and which images of future are (re)produced? These questions are especially interesting in the case of the socio-technical constellations and practices of actors in emergency management and civil protection, i.e. administration, policy making,  firefighting, critical infrastructure protection, spatial planning, weather services etc.

Transdisciplinary approaches to co-production of knowledge and reflections about risk and emergency management play an important role in facing future challenges. We explicitly encourage empirical examples from practice as well as theoretical or conceptual contributions.

We welcome manuscript submissions regarding the following aspects of the broader topic:

  • Policies of anticipatory governance regarding grand challenges of climate change induced hazards
  • Socio-technical constellations of anticipating future for risk and emergency management,
  • Effects of organisational (re)structuring and organisational learning to face future challenges,
  • Changed concepts of training and exercise, including setups and practices of/in future control rooms,
  • Questions and solutions regarding data, information and knowledge management in dealing with risks and crises,
  • Questions of decision-making and the distribution of competencies,
  • Insights from future studies, futurology and foresight.


Thomas Kox, Department of Geography, LMU Munich, Germany
Florian Neisser, Fraunhofer INT, Business Unit for Technology and Innovation Planning, Germany 


Anderson, B. (2010). Preemption, precaution, preparedness: Anticipatory action and future geographies. Progress in Human Geography, 34(6), 777–798.

Boyd, E., Nykvist, B., Borgström, S., & Stacewicz, I. A. (2015). Anticipatory governance for social-ecological resilience. Ambio, 44(1), 149-161

Fuerth, L. S. (2009). Foresight and anticipatory governance. Foresight, 11(4), 14–32.

Guston, D. H. (2014). Understanding ‘anticipatory governance’. Social Studies of Science, 44(2), 218–242.

Muiderman, K., Gupta, A., Vervoort, J., Biermann, F. (2020). Four approaches to anticipatory climate governance: Different conceptions of the future and implications for the present. Wires Climate Change, 11(6).

Neisser, F., Runkel, S. (2017). The future is now! Extrapolated riskscapes, anticipatory action and the management of potential emergencies. Geoforum, 82, June 2017, 170-179.

Quay, R. (2010). Anticipatory Governance. Journal of the American Planning Association, 76(4), 496–511.

Between commemoration and dark tourism: Remembering disasters in post-disaster contexts

In the aftermath of disasters questions arise whether at all and if yes, how to commemorate the disaster in cultural and social discourses, but also in public spaces. Often it is a long lasting social and political struggle who has the moral authority to shape commemoration practices, what should be commemorated, and what are appropriate means to do so. As a result, in some places specific disaster memorials are constructed which create (public) spaces and thus practices for the commemoration of the disaster and its victims. In other places practices of commemoration and recollection are not enshrined in memorials but remain more open.

A form of its own to remember and a disaster and its legacy is the emergence of dark or disaster tourism in affected areas. Dark tourism – originally describing people touring places of atrocities and war crimes – reached disaster affected regions such as Chernobyl, Fukushima, or New Orleans in recent years and is seen as highly ambivalent: While disaster tourism creates revenue in disaster areas that often suffer from tremendous decreases in tourists and visitors on the one hand, it is also heavily criticized for being voyeuristic and exploiting as well as for the on-going stigmatization of a disaster affected area on the other hand.

More recently, dark tourism has become an emerging branch of the tourism industry in the wake of disasters, for instance in India, which has fueled the discussion on disaster capitalism.

In the panel, we would like to discuss the economic and political drivers that support dark tourism to get a broader understanding of the complexity of post-disaster commemoration practices.

We invite contributions that

  • theoretically, ethically and/or conceptually deal with the interconnectedness of disaster, (dark) tourism and commemoration.
  • analyze the political and social struggles in dealing with the legacy of disasters.
  • present historical and current case studies focusing on disaster dark tourism.
  • discuss examples how the thin line between commemoration and dark tourism is contested, negotiated and maintained.


Daniel F. Lorenz, Disaster Research Unit (DRU), Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Cordula Dittmer, Disaster Research Unit (DRU), Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Building resilience through organisational learning and innovation: COVID-19, windows of opportunity, and the future of cooperation in crisis management

Like in a magnifying glass, the COVID-19 pandemic exposes significant weaknesses in current concepts and practices of disaster preparedness, prevention and response. Although it might be early to assess, there is a ‘window of opportunity’ for emergency and crisis management to use the experiences of the ongoing crisis to learn key lessons and adapt structures and processes accordingly to increase both organizational and systemic resilience (Boin et al. 2020; Collins et al., 2020).

An important field of organisational learning relates to the competencies and cooperation between different organisations and across varying levels of administration, including innovation processes to improve exchange and interoperability (Berchtold et al. 2020; Roth and Prior 2016; Sautter et al. 2015). Previous research has shown how recent crisis experiences, including natural hazards, or social crises such as the European refugee crisis can function as a catalyst for organisational innovation and enable inter-crises learning processes in public administrations that reach beyond specific hazard types (Roth et al. 2018; Roth et al. 2019; Eckhard et al. 2020). In this session, we would like to shed some light on the impact of the pandemic at the level of national and sub-national administrations and response organisations, as well as the technological, organizational or social innovations that have been developed to increase responsive, adaptive or anticipatory

The session encourages submissions on the topics of learning and innovation in pandemic preparedness and response, but also in disaster and emergency management more generally. Inter alia, submissions could highlight different levels and viewpoints, including the structures and processes to anticipate and respond to hazards (external view) as well as those to maintain operations (internal view). Possible guiding questions are:

  • What competences and capacities were already available before the COVID-19 crisis that proved valuable to facilitate cooperation?
  • What innovation and adaptation processes were helpful to meet the challenges of the pandemic?
  • What might be transferable to different future situations to improve organisational and systemic resilience?
  • What are lessons learned and good practices, and what can we do to use windows of opportunity to transfer these lessons into broader practice?

We explicitly encourage empirical examples from practice as well as theoretical or conceptual contributions. Insights from different national contexts, observations spanning over various administrative boundaries and comparisons of case studies are most welcome contributions. The panel will be organized as a conference track, where authors will present their work and have the chance to obtain constructive feedback from the group as a whole and from a designated discussant.


Dr. Florian Roth, Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany
Patrick Drews, Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart, Germany
Dr. Florian Neisser, Fraunhofer INT, Euskirchen, Germany
Johannes Sautter, Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart, Germany
Dr. Benjamin Kaluza, Fraunhofer INT, Euskirchen, Germany
Dr. Thomas Jackwerth-Rice, Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany


Berchtold, C., Vollmer, M., Sendrowski, P.; Neisser, F.; Müller, L. & S. Grigoleit (2020). Barriers and Facilitators in Interorganizational Disaster Response: Identifying Examples Across Europe. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 11, 46–58 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13753-020-00249-y

Boin, A.; Lodge, M.; Luesink, M. (2020). Learning from the COVID-19 crisis: an initial analysis of national responses. Policy Design and Practice 3(3), 189-204.

Collins, A.; Florin, M.-V.; Renn, O. (2020). COVID-19 risk governance: drivers, responses and lessons to be learned. Journal of Risk Research 23(7-8), 1073-1082.

Eckhard, S.; Lenz, A.; Seibel, W.; Roth, F.; Fatke, M. (2020). Latent Hybridity in Administrative Crisis Management: The German Refugee Crisis of 2015/16. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 1-18 https://academic.oup.com/jpart/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jopart/muaa039/5922017

Prior, T.; Roth, F. (2016). Learning from Disaster Events and Exercises in Civil Protection Organizations, Risk & Resilience Report 2, Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zürich. http://www.css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/specialinterest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/RR-Report-2016-01 .pdf

Roth, F.; Prior, T.; Käser, M. (2019). Natural Hazards Governance in Western Europe, in: Benouar, Djillali (ed.) Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Hazard Science, https://oxfordre.com/naturalhazardscience/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.001.0001/acrefore-9780199389407-e-225

Roth, F.; Seibel, W.; Neuberger, L.; Fatke, M.; Eckhard, S.; Lenz, A. (2018). Understanding local crisis management in complex organisational settings. The case of the migration crisis in Germany 2015/16. Paper presented at the Third Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies, Amsterdam, 23.03.2018.

Sautter, Johannes; Havlik, Denis; Böspflug, Lars; Max, Matthias; Rannat, Kalev; Erlich, Marc; Engelbach, Wolf (2015): Simulation and Analysis of Mass Casualty Mission Tactics. In: International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management 7 (3), S. 16–39. http://DOI.org/10.4018/IJISCRAM.2015070102.

Caring about and Care in Disasters: On Privileges, Marginalisation and the Making of Critical (Social) Infrastructure Protection

The COVID-19 pandemic is impressively showcasing the societal importance of health & care infrastructures during disasters. While health infrastructures are in numerous political strategies listed as critical infrastructures to be upheld during disasters, care infrastructures (such as childcare, ambulatory care or nursing homes) are mostly offside and deprived of the attention of public bureaucracies and disaster relief organisations alike. Moreover, health infrastructures are regularly reduced to highly visible central nodes, such as hospitals or nursing homes. On the contrary, decentral elements of health & care supply are widely side-lined. This becomes most obvious with regard to the common neglect of ambulatory care infrastructure, home care settings and ambulatory medical treatment in disaster planning.

Health & care infrastructures exceed the realm of technological functionality and embrace a social dimension. Arguably, care infrastructure in its various forms and for different socio-demographic groups crucially depends on social interaction and empathy, thus goes beyond the technical fixes of those infrastructures that are usually in mind when talking about critical infrastructures. Therefore, thinking about upholding health & care infrastructures urges us to question the tacit assumptions around the making of critical infrastructures. Yet, maintaining health & care infrastructures crucially depends on the functioning of those classical technical infrastructures that supply, and sometimes even enable, care work. Health & care infrastructures are thus situated in a complex socio-technological entanglement that brings us to (re-)consider the role of factors such as gender, ability, class, sexuality and race in the making of critical infrastructures – as a central element in
disaster management.

The panel seeks to challenge current modes of disaster management along three frictions:

  • Commonalities and differences in the protection of different (socio-)technical (critical) infrastructures
  • Modes of protection for central and decentral infrastructures
  • The being and making of critical infrastructures

We welcome contributions that deal with questions including, but not limited to, the following:

  • How are health and/or care infrastructures addressed in current disaster research and management?
  • What is different about the protection of central and decentral (critical) infrastructures?
  • How can we conceptualise core functionalities of health and care infrastructures?
  • What is critical about critical infrastructures?
  • How are societal power hierarchies naturalised by dominant framings of critical infrastructures?
  • What assumptions are foundational for the making of critical infrastructures and who is thereby (dis)advantaged?
  • For whom is what kind of infrastructure critical?
  • What role do empathy and care play in critical infrastructure protection and disaster management?
  • What social and psychological aspects regarding patients and relatives are relevant in the emergency planning of health and care infrastructures?


Marco Krüger, University of Tübingen, Germany
Nicolas Bock, Free University of Berlin, Germany

Cascading disasters: how to design resilient crisis-management institutions and organizations?

An emerging challenge to societal resilience is caused by cascading disasters, which are extreme events in which cascading effects increase in progression over time and generate unexpected secondary events of strong impact (Pescaroli, Alexander, 2015; Cutter, 2017). These disasters uniquely trigger social cascades that deeply affect the social fabric and interconnectedness of communities, organizations and institutions. The impacts of disasters, and in many cases their likelihood, are amplified by ongoing global trends, like rapid urbanization, intensified development in hazardous areas, increased population movements, climate change and strong reliance on technologies, among others. As climate change progresses, societies around the world will be forced to grapple with more frequent heat waves, the spread of infectious disease agents, land loss in coastal areas, and a host of other climate change-induced effects. What if the major earthquake that struck L’Aquila (IT) in 2009 would have happened in April 2020, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the
government issued a complete lockdown and the standard risk prevention measures (like gathering in safe areas) were neither applicable nor safe during the pandemic? How would emergency measures taken by the Italian government have impacted social cohesion, public trust and democratic legitimacy?

Cascading disasters can have severe and enduring repercussions on individuals, communities, and organizations, but also on national political institutions (by for example triggering illegitimate or ineffective modalities of emergency decision-making that in turn negatively impact societal resilience). The pressing question this panel aims to raise is the following: How to build effective and reliable organizations and institutions aimed at improving the adaptability and preparedness of citizens and societies to cascading disasters?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear how difficult it is to manage a complex system of interconnected and dynamic components (transportation, healthcare, economy, education), and how different countries are, in terms of risk perception, culture, attitudes, institutional and social trust, and socio-economic contexts. Cascading disasters require modular, flexible, and proactive responses from many interconnected actors, operating at different levels in different roles and embedded in different contexts. Effectively tackling this challenge requires to move from a reactive approach to risk management, based on predefined responses resulting from past events, to a proactive one based on the concepts of “living with uncertainty” and
“envisioning the future”. The panel's participants will engage with the topic of organizational and institutional preparedness for cascading disasters, and we welcome papers from different disciplines (sociology, political science, psychology, economics, public administration, history, philosophy) and perspectives that will discuss this issue. The panel welcomes diverse methodological approaches, including simulation, comparative or single case studies or experiments.


Francesca Giardini, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Clara Egger, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities – and the Methodological Approaches to Explore it

Climate change is also affecting the Nordic countries, and there are vulnerable geographical areas that will be particularly affected by an increasing number of devastating natural events. Often there are areas on the outskirts of a country where emergency response is rudimentary, located far from major cities, and where critical infrastructure is vulnerable to these types of events. This is first and foremost untenable for the citizens; however, authorities with emergency management responsibility need new methods to support the communities in their efforts to build capacity. One of the many challenges, besides the violent and devastating events themselves, is that the areas can also be threatened with population decline or even relocation if the locals are unable to cope with the rising threats of climate change – this is critical for the Nordic societies in

This Panel will explore climate change resilience in small communities – mainly in the Nordic countries but might also include studies outside this region. The Panel will examine how the small rural communities understand their situation, how they handle adverse events and build capacity, and under what circumstances they need help from the established system and civil society organizations. The main question is how researchers can assist in ensuring safety and adequate capacity for climate change resilience in small remote communities. The Panel invites research that focuses on all the phases needed to secure communities against hazardous events (i.e. prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery). The Panel organizers invite research based on qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches, and we are highly interested to be inspired by new, unconventional, alternative, and innovative research methodologies.

The first presentation at this Panel will take its point of departure in the “Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities in the Nordic Countries” project (CliCNord) which is running from 2021 to 2023. It is a NordForsk funded project within the Nordic Societal Security Programme. CliCNord will explore the topic highlighted above and against this background, a framework will be developed that can be disseminated to other vulnerable communities and authorities with responsibility for ensuring safety and adequate capacity for climate change resilience. CliCNord will include several very different hazards affecting local communities across the Nordic countries. The project takes its point of departure in disaster cycle management. The methodologies will predominantly be qualitative and inspired by social science, nevertheless, with this panel
the project group expects to be inspired by other scholars concerning methodological approaches.


Rico Kongsager, University College Copenhagen, Denmark
Nina Blom Andersen, University College Copenhagen, Denmark
Nina Baron, University College Copenhagen, Denmark
Mikkel Nedergaard, University College Copenhagen, Denmark

Community response to crises and disasters: from preparedness to practices

Many disasters, such as wildfires, floods and terrorist attacks, have a fairly localized impact area, even if the ultimate causes of the event may be of a more global character. In such cases, community response, outside the realm of the professional responders that are commonly considered the ‘core’ of crisis management, can express itself in a variety of forms:

Volunteers of different kinds have perhaps received the lion’s share of scholarly attention. They may assist the professional responders, but may also work independently in a more unofficial response operation. They may be members of voluntary emergency organizations such as The Red Cross, but they may also lack an organizational affiliation and work together in informal groups.

Volunteers are not the only actors appearing in community response. When a crisis occurs, its effects often have to be dealt with by people performing their ordinary work during extraordinary circumstances. For example, teachers have to teach their pupils even if the school has been burnt down. This kind of practice in crisis management has not until recently been recognized in the literature.

Another kind of community activities taking place outside the official system of emergency preparedness and response is household preparedness, i.e., preparations for crises undertaken by individuals or families in their own homes. A closely related type of activities is carried out by people living in the vicinity of a disaster area, sometimes under threat of having to evacuate their homes.

In this panel, the abovementioned, and other similar, local actors and activities are grouped together under the heading of "Community response". Many interesting research questions on this topic deserve scholarly attention. Just to take one example: Volunteers during crises are increasingly attracting the attention of governments and actors in the official national systems for civil protection and preparedness. This has led to attempts, in several countries, to organize the less organized community response actors. But is everything possible to organize? What will happen to people’s commitment to make voluntary contributions for the community, if they are turned into service providers for the government rather than community members helping one another?


Roine Johansson, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
Linda Kvarnlöf, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
Olof Oscarsson, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden

Complex Disasters as Future Challenge for Disaster Research and Management

Research (e.g. Smet et al., 2012) has shown that disasters are becoming increasingly complex. Decisive for this increase in complexity are interactions and consequences of social processes on different levels. For some time now, scientific discourse has differentiated between different degrees of severity and temporalities of disasters (Quarantelli, 2000) and increasingly considers complex interaction effects of various natural, technical and socio-political hazards in “complex disasters” (Funabashi and Kitazawa, 2012). A variety of terms can be found to grasp different aspects of this new quality of disasters such as “compound disasters (Wachira, 1997), “consecutive disasters” (Ruiter et al., 2020), “cascading disasters” (Pescaroli and Alexander, 2015) or NaTech/TechNa disasters (Gill and Ritchie, 2018).

Among other things this increase in complexity means that less visible, often slowly building threats to societies but also fundamentally new consequences across scales are entering the field disaster research and management. Additionally, past and current events such as the SARS-CoV-2-pandemic have shown that disasters are not only becoming more complex but also trans-boundary. These developments can be expected to challenge disaster research, disaster management structures and international or supranational disaster relief radically in terms of responsibilities, capacities and operational practices.

The panel invites presentations both from practitioners (e.g., disaster management, relief organizations) and academics that analyze past events and conceptualize complex disasters in terms of challenges and (potential) scenarios for disaster management and research.


Cordula Dittmer, Disaster Research Unit (DRU), Berlin, Germany
Daniel F. Lorenz, Disaster Research Unit (DRU), Berlin, Germany


Funabashi, Y. and K. Kitazawa (2012) ‘Fukushima in review: A complex disaster, a disastrous response’. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 68(2). pp. 9–21.

Gill, D.A. and L.A. Ritchie (2018) ‘Contributions of Technological and Natech Disaster Research to the Social Science Disaster Paradigm’. In H. Rodríguez, W. Donner and J.E. Trainor (eds) Handbook of disaster research. Cham, Springer. pp. 39–60.

Pescaroli, G. and D. Alexander (2015) ‘A definition of cascading disasters and cascading effects: Going beyond the 'toppling dominos' metaphor’. Planet@Risk. 3(1).

Quarantelli, E.L. (2000) Emergencies, disaster and catastrophes are different phenomena. Newark, Delaware, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware.

Ruiter, M.C. de, A. Couasnon, M.J.C. Homberg, J.E. Daniell, J.C. Gill and P.J. Ward (2020) ‘Why We Can No Longer Ignore Consecutive Disasters’. Earth's Future. 8(3). pp. 16–25.

Smet, H. de, P. Lagadec and J. Leysen (2012) ‘Disasters Out of the Box: A New Ballgame?’. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. 20(3). pp. 138–48.

Wachira, G. (1997) ‘Conflicts in Africa as Compound Disasters: Complex Crises Requiring Comprehensive Responses’. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. 5(2). pp. 109–17.

Contingency: exploring an age-old concept for a new reality

Like many great crises, from the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the SARS-Cov-2 virus tears away the superficial face of societal stability, revealing the frightening reality of insecurity. When we are thrown into an unwanted and unexpected environment the stability of life anchored in the habitual and the mundane – dinning at restaurants, commuting to work, buying groceries or socialising in the local pub – are replaced in a moment with the primal need to survive. The uncertainty revealed in these moments of crises is not only about the scientific quest to understand the characteristics of a virus, predict the next hurricane or enhance response capacities of governments; it also lays bare the background assumptions that inform how we perceive and manage contingent relations. Even states equipped with the most sophisticated crisis management capacities and prevention plans, fortuna still finds her way to surprise us with undetermined events.

The idea of chance, luck or fortuna is integral to how many of us interpret crises as well as how we evaluate responses to them. There is an element of the unanticipated that accounts for what went wrong; it was an unexpected event, a wrong decision or a computer malfunction that was outside our ability to control. We consequently attempt to manage disasters, quantify and map risk, learn from our mistakes and improve our capacity to prevent, prepare, respond and recover. This includes seeking the underlying causes of crises that lie in social vulnerability, the lack of resilience as well as global inequity. In all of these efforts a fixation has been placed on our ability to control contingent relations. Indeed, we rarely reflect upon what contingent relations can mean.

Anticipating the next global virus, weighing financial investments or constructing a sense of stability through the reproduction of social structures, we all wrestle with the problem of contingency. Understood as events outside the control of agency, contingencies are fundamental for shaping our lives and central for thinking about crises and disasters. Of course, this is a well-worn feature in many social theories (see for example, Oakeshott, 1975, pp.101-8; Pocock, 1975; Rorty, 1989; Nussbaum, 1986) and an implied factor in our everyday lives and even the existence of the state (McCormick, 2016, p.171). However, what has changed – particularly in the last half century – is the intensity, complexity and even uncertainty of life. We live with an unprecedented level of interdependence and global interconnectivity, producing an alarming variety of social
vulnerabilities and contingent relations. This social perturbation is moreover intertwined with nature. Due to the transformative power of human actions, the earth system has experienced a rupture from a certain and stable Holocene to a more volatile and uncertain socio-natural system known as the Anthropocene (Crutzen & Stoermer 2000; Crutzen 2002; Hamilton, 2017). Our physical reality has fundamentally changed begging the need to revise how we imagine disasters and crises. Never before has the import of contingency been so profound; yet, reflections on this central, albeit largely forgotten concept, have been sparse or non-existing within the field of disaster and crisis management studies.

This panel invites contributions that seek to problematize, reflect upon or apply the concept of contingencies for (re)imagining crises. This can include how the contingencies can nuance or challenge primary concepts in the field, such as risk, resilience, vulnerability or wicked problems or even demonstrate its usefulness empirically.


Simon Hollis, Swedish Defence University, Sweden


Crutzen P. J., & Stoermer, E.F. (2000). The “Anthropocene”. Global Change Newsletter (41), 17-18

Crutzen, P. J., (2002). Geology of mankind. Nature 415, 23.

Hamilton, C. (2017). Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene. Cambridge: Polity Press.

McCormick, J.P. (2017). Pockock, Machiavelli and Political Contingency in Foreign Affairs: Republican Existentialism Outside (and Within) the City. History of European Ideas, 43(2), 171-183.

Nausbaum, M.C. (1986). The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oakeshott, M. (1975). On Human Conduct. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Pocock, J.G.A., (1975). The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Political Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


De-colonizing Disasters: Affect, race, and queer theory.

A disaster is not only a sudden, de-stabilizing event but an affective complex that hinges on the already in place structures of violence and diminishment such as colonial occupation, conflict, poverty, heteronormativity, whiteness, and other forms of structural harms. The panel seeks to understand “natural” disasters as interruptions of joy; as forms of dysphoria that reorganize relationships and the expectations, one has from life and each other. The panel attempts to inspire new vocabularies on disaster aftermaths and redirects attention away from institutional and external therapeutic processes in favor of broader imaginaries on the seepage of disaster into everyday worldmaking. In this way, the panel seeks to expand the parameters of the field of disaster studies to embrace de-colonial, subaltern, and critical approaches for the study of disaster, its aftermaths, and survivors. Papers are invited from diverse theoretical and methodological standpoints from any context which address some of the following themes (but not limited to) in fresh and provocative ways:

  • Feeling, living, and embodying disaster
  • Narrative and first-person accounts of disaster
  • Troubling the binaries of disaster/everyday life
  • The convergence of disaster with other forms of diminishment
  • Disaster and decoloniality
  • Disaster and heteronormativity
  • Disaster and whiteness/race
  • Disaster and dysphoria
  • Queering disaster
  • Affective methodologies for the study of disaster


Omer Aijazi, University of Toronto, Canada

Deep cultures of disaster: The significance of the anthropological perspective for understanding the interstices of hazards and disaster

It is now widely accepted that all disasters are human caused. For this reason, the anthropological perspective, namely its concern with the deep cultural perspective, and methods of inquiry, are of upmost importance for understanding the cultural intricacies through which people perceive, experience, recover from and memorialise disasters, and also come to imagine what desired outcomes, utopias and dystopias might look like. Culture therefore mediates learning, evaluation and technological development for disaster risk reduction, and is the medium through which policies and practices of disaster risk reduction and recovery interventions are constructed, legitimized, enacted, realised or rejected. Researchers, policy makers and practitioners, including hazard and disasters experts, have all too often merely acknowledged a surface lamina to a people’s culture, however it is culture in its most discerning and anthropological sense that is key to understanding how people deal with threat (Hoffman and Oliver-Smith 2002). In addition, while researchers are increasingly attempting to integrate their activities through multi-disciplinary projects, a persistent assumption seems to prevail among many engaged in the risk and disaster enterprise that solutions lie predominately with physical scientists and engineers rather than social scientists. However, we would argue that those involved need to assess the circumstance in a culturally relative manner that includes how people assess risk and calculate what constitutes recovery.

This panel seeks to explore the significance of the anthropological deep cultural perspective and methods of inquiry for understanding the collective, individual and organisational experience after crises and catastrophes, including ways of perceiving danger, memorializing events, envisioning futures, developing disaster risk reduction policies and practice, and in preparing for future events. We welcome papers that explore the use of the anthropological perspective to address any of the above themes, however we are particularly interested in papers that address the above themes through an anthropological lens in relation to: a) emerging issues in hazards and disaster research or b) within large multi, inter and trans-disciplinary research projects.


Irena L. C. Connon, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
Susanna Hoffman, Hoffman Consulting & Chief Of IUAES Commission On Risk And Disaster, Telluride, CO, USA


Hoffman, S., and A. Oliver-Smith, eds. 2002. Catastrophe and Culture. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research.

Disaster recovery in the long-term

While specific disasters are often discussed publicly as events in a relatively brief time frame, disaster researchers are well aware that disaster recovery can be a long-term process. Despite this knowledge, for a variety of practical, methodological, and even theoretical reasons, disaster research often finds itself focused on a narrower time frame. This raises a series of problems and complications for research and applied approaches, including a relative lack of information on how long-term recovery processes succeed or fail or how they are perceived over time by emergency management officials, government agencies, the media, and both directly affected and non-affected laypeople. Moreover, it means we need more extensive indepth knowledge of how long-term cycles and repeating disasters may affect not only a population and their landscape, but also their recovery from subsequent events. Particularly in an era of climate change with potentially shifting disaster scopes and frequency, understanding how people experience disaster recovery in the long-term and how it shapes their response to subsequent events is critical to our research on disasters and application of that research.

This panel invites contributions from a range of perspectives, including: those drawn from both experiences of conducting research and the recounted experiences of people in disasters, preparedness, and recovery; those that play with realities by discussing or introducing theoretical and methodological approaches relevant to the better understanding of long-term processes; and those which imagine the future of long-term disaster research and changing experiences of cycles of disasters. Moreover, in an era of increased focus on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, this panel invites a range of research and work perspectives, including disaster researchers situated in academia, practitioners, and people who span both spheres. This panel is conceptualized as a space to explore what we do know, but also to examine what we may not know and how various fields may contribute theoretically, methodologically, and practically to a better understanding of disaster recovery in the long-term and how it shapes people's beliefs and behaviors in other disasters.


Jennifer Trivedi, University of Delaware, Newark, USA

Emerging voices and pathways to inclusive disaster studies

The field of disaster studies faces a number of major challenges linked to power, prestige and values. Research impact and success are often measured on the basis of the perspectives and priorities of leading institutions in high income countries. Yet, research informed by local realities and local knowledge potentially has a larger impact on both practice and scholarship. It is often difficult for individual researchers to make space for local perspectives, due to their need to publish and attract funding. Therefore, research is rarely led by those who are actually vulnerable to disasters. These issues raise questions about the future of theoretical and empirical work in the field of disaster studies. For these reasons, the Disaster Studies Manifesto calls for a radical rethinking of research agendas, methods and the allocation of resources in the field. Master students, doctoral
students and post-doctoral researchers are faced with these issues, like all scholars studying disasters. However, compared to established disaster scholars, early career researchers (ECR) are uniquely positioned to challenge established practices and foster innovation in their research field. In line with the conference theme Imagining Futures, this panel provides a platform for ECR to explore new pathways towards inclusive disaster studies. Participants are asked to reflect on a range of paradigmatic topics, such as those listed below.

  • Empirical contributions that explore the field’s challenges and/or exemplify novel research approaches in disaster studies, e.g. ‘How can established field practices be transformed?’

  • Methodological contributions with methodological reflections, discussions of concepts and/or practical engagements that explore new and emerging ways of conducting research, e.g. ‘Which practical barriers and methodological limitations stand in the way of inclusive disaster studies?’

  • Theoretical contributions that explore the field’s settled epistemological and/or ontological positions and new pathways forward, e.g. ‘What concepts and frameworks delineate new pathways for the field?’

  • Literature reviews that critically reflect on key texts (or concepts) from disaster studies and/or other relevant fields, e.g. ‘What literature and conceptual thinking from other fields could help identify new pathways in disaster studies?’

  • Personal reflections, discussing academic/activist/personal trajectories that have led early career researchers into disaster studies and what this means for the field and society, e.g. ‘How can ECRs’ experiences be leveraged to stimulate innovative research in disaster studies?’

The aim of this panel is to provide a platform for a new generation of voices to explore emerging pathways towards inclusive disaster studies. It is linked to a special issue in the journal Disaster Prevention and Management www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/dpm/emerging-voices-and-pathways-inclusive-disaster-studies


Femke Mulder, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
Ricardo Fuentealba, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Laura Kmoch, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Eefje Hendriks, Avans University of Advanced Science, The Netherlands

Envisioning the future by learning from the past: Arts and memory in interdisciplinary disaster risk reduction research

Throughout human history and the evolution of social, economic, and political systems, humans have always urged the necessity to imagine the space they have occupied, and the relationships they have established with it. Through imagination, humans, individually and collectively, have integrated their perceptions, experiences and desires with natural features and the environment. From this, they have provided their own representation of the world by generating diverse visions and perspectives, experiencing short and long term changes, and eventually reshaping and reorganizing the space and the reality accordingly. Traditionally, research and practice have represented these multiple imaginations mainly through narrative descriptions and cartographic representations. This has relegated other creative forms such as visual and performative arts (e.g., dance, theater, painting, poetry, music, drawing) in a subaltern position in comparison with more classical research methods from the humanities and social and physical sciences. Indeed, in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) research and practice, arts and memory studies are being used just in the last years as powerful means with therapeutic effects to recover from a disaster, and with the opportunity for stimulating creativity and imagination to provide a future vision to places and communities that are proactive in reducing disaster risks. Visual and performative arts, as well as public history projects, are a medium to encourage individual and collective emotions sharing, overcome trauma, offer mutual closeness and support, and provide a visual and aesthetic sensibility to affected places. They have been also instrumental in promoting interpersonal trust and confidence, as well as in challenging powerful forces in environmental and social justice

However, an interdisciplinary perspective is missing in the use of visual and performative arts in DRR. There has indeed been limited engagement in establishing a dialogue with other disciplines in a truly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective, in particular with those disciplines that just apparently seem far from arts such as physical and environmental sciences, as well as disaster root cause analysis and public history in DRR. This challenges efforts towards a more integrated DRR research and practice because creative and performative arts can establish a dialogue with other disciplines and policy-makers to provide relevant information on e.g. hazards, livelihood and resource management, short and long term social and environmental changes, as well as on vulnerabilities and capacities. These creative arts have the potential for engaging stakeholders from different perspectives and to work towards action that can build a safer future. Therefore, this panel proposes to explore, theoretically and empirically, how visual and performative arts operate together with other disciplines in creatively envisioning and imagining the future in interdisciplinary DRR research and practice. Based on this, the panel welcomes contributions that explicitly address the role of visual and performative arts in future-oriented interdisciplinary DRR. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Arts and natural resource management
  • Multi-hazards arts
  • Arts and the digital future
  • Arts and public history
  • Ethics of arts in DRR
  • Arts and decolonial imaginations
  • Arts and utopian place-making
  • Arts and post-capitalism
  • Interdisciplinary art methods
  • Arts, conflicts and power
  • Arts between disaster recovery and future visions
  • Arts and knowledge co-creation
  • Arts, Reflexivity, and Participatory Assessments
  • Arts, politics and policy-making


Giuseppe Forino, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
María Elena Bedoya, USFQ, Ecuador
Elisa Sevilla, USFQ, Ecuador
Teresa Armijos, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Jenni Barclay, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Fundación Museos De La Ciudad Quito, Ecuador


Cloke, P., & Dickinson, S. (2019). Transitional ethics and aesthetics: Reimagining the postdisaster city in
Christchurch, New Zealand. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 109(6), 1922-1940.

Cosgrave, E. J., & Kelman, I. (2017). Performing arts for disaster risk reduction including climate change
adaptation in Kelman, I., Mercer, J., & Gaillard, J. C. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge handbook of disaster risk
reduction including climate change adaptation. Routledge, 214-226.

Gavron, T. (2020). The Power of Art to Cope With Trauma: Psychosocial Intervention After the Tsunami in Japan. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 0022167820982144.

Huss, E., Kaufman, R., Avgar, A., & Shuker, E. (2016). Arts as a vehicle for community building and post‐disaster development. Disasters, 40(2), 284-303.

Monteil, C., Barclay, J., & Hicks, A. (2020). Remembering, forgetting, and absencing disasters in the post-disaster recovery process. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 11, 287-299.

Paton, D., Michaloudis, I., Pavavaljung, E., Clark, K., Buergelt, P., Jang, L., & Kuo, G. (2017). Art and disaster
resilience: perspectives from the visual and performing arts, in Paton, D., Johnston, D., Disaster resilience: An
integrated approach, 212-235.

Peek, L., Tobin-Gurley, J., Cox, R. S., Scannell, L., Fletcher, S., & Heykoop, C. (2016). Engaging youth in postdisaster research: Lessons learned from a creative methods approach. Gateways: International Journal of
Community Research and Engagement, 9(1), 89-112.

Puleo, T. (2014). Art-making as place-making following disaster. Progress in Human Geography, 38(4), 568-580.

Exploring Future Work Practices for Information Sharing and Achieving Common Situational Understanding in Disasters

The COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing global crisis that set humanity back on its heels. Nations had realized that disasters are complex and unpredictable, let alone the complexity of managing such situations. During the COVID-19 crisis, it became evident that timely information sharing, having a common understanding, and a common operational picture is a critical factor in the failure and success of handling a crisis of that scale.

Generally, in emergency management (EM), both practitioners and scholars agree that sharing situation information is a prerequisite for achieving a common operational picture (COP) and common understanding of threats and incidents. Eventually, achieving a COP is key for effective disaster response.

Today, information and communication technologies develop rapidly, offering numerous capabilities that were unimaginable before. During the pandemic, nations had to work rapidly to employ every mean (technology and otherwise) possible to acquire critical information to achieve a common understanding and situational awareness among the various stakeholders involved in responding to the crisis. The current crisis provided many examples of technology integration and new workflows are needed in in the field to address the ever changing landscape of disasters.

Integration of new technologies for emergency and disaster management are continuously explored. Better command-andcontrol rooms equipped with smart technologies are becoming more common. Deployments of IoT, and robotics (YAVs, UGVs etc.) for in-situ data acquisition and situational awareness applications (e.g. SPOT the dog robot helping NYPD). Utilization of hi-tech sensor technologies to provide remote detection and inspection of incident scenes (CBRN and hazardous elements). Use of smart phones and other smart devices are increasingly being used as additional emergency network channels. With increasing access for real-time communication and information sharing between Control Room and in-situ (COP). Exploring applications decision support systems and artificial intelligence for risk assessment, impact prediction of different scenarios based on real-time updates. Digital mapping and further integration with AI/DL and other model-based applications supporting establishment of COP.

There is an increasing demand for faster information acquisition and use, and smarter crisis responses. The EM organizations work in a fast-changing environment. These developments also affect the ways the emergency management stakeholders share information in inter-agency operations.

However, when introducing new products or technologies to any task force (including emergency responders), there is always a need for integration processes and training. These processes cover further development behavior adaptation and technology acceptance in cognitive and “soft” skills. For example, this includes the mental process of individuals to adapt to new technologies, organizational workflows adapting from existing protocols for communicating and responding with new technologies, heterogenous use of technology among different EM organizations resulting from different disciplinary orientations, work culture, and internal politics. Working together in real-time, sharing information and maps in the same virtual space, requires a standard set of terminology and map symbols for each agency to understand the situation in the same way. Hence, a socio-technical approach is required. What is required for future practice to take advantage of the new technological capabilities for information sharing and achieving COP?

This panel is intended as a venue for presenting and discussing research work focusing on new methods for examining disaster and emergency management practices, and research work introducing innovative ways for designing integrated disaster management systems.

Panel topics:

  • Interdisciplinary research tackling topics related to existing and future information technology use in disaster management
  • Harmonization of terminologies, map usage and map symbols for disaster management
  • Technology innovation and data exploitation supporting the design of effective communication, coordination and decisionmaking platforms for emergency preparedness and response management (e.g., intelligent devices, GIS technologies, big data analysis, complex systems, situational awareness platforms, decision support systems, crisis communication, technology for supporting terminology harmonization)
  • Research studies on novel use of first responder technologies, interorganizational collaboration and information sharing, command and control centers
  • Development of procedure support and automation for realtime information collection and sharing in inter-agency operations
  • Future digital exercise design and implementation


Jaziar Radianti, University of Agder, Norway
Bjørn Erik Munkvold, University of Agder, Norway
Nadia Saad Noori, University of Agder, Norway

Focus on human needs: Understanding good and bad practices in public health crises

The crisis leadership model developed by Boin and 't Hart is a common approach to structure tasks – or
challenges – of governments and professionals in a crisis context. These general tasks include sense-making, decisionmaking, coordination, meaning-making, account-giving and learning (Boin & ‘t Hart 2010; Boin et al. 2016). From a public health perspective, which is the focus of this panel, the crisis leadership tasks are a useful instrument to analyze real-life cases or training scenario’s. That is to say, they can be beneficial for public health when each task addresses the health, well-being and safety of the populations affected by the crisis (Dückers et al. 2017). Sense-making, for example, should consider needs and problems of the affected as well as risks and protective factors. Ideally, this first task will help to guide decision-making on the response and supportive interventions, which will be provided in a coordinated effort by multiple actors, professions and disciplines. Meaning-making activities like public speeches, commemorations and disaster monuments can be therapeutic for individual and communities. Account-giving can have a similar effect when apologies are made and are perceived as sincere. Finally, learning is needed to draw lessons for the future and to close the cycle through prevention and preparedness. Against this background the panel seeks to promote a meaningful exchange between researchers working on the intersection of public health and crisis management, with an emphasis on three topics: (1) good and bad practices in the planning and delivery of a public health response to disasters and major crises; (2) conceptual or tested approaches to gain insight into the needs and problems of affected individuals and groups; (3) promising ideas and theories, methodologies, challenges and lessons on how to evaluate public health responses and support interventions.


Michel Dückers, Nivel – Netherlands Institute of Health Services Research, Netherlands / ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, Netherlands
Lise Eilin Stene, Norwegian Centre For Violence And Traumatic Stress Studies, Norway


Boin, A., & 't Hart, P. (2010). Organising for effective emergency management: Lessons from research 1. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 69(4), 357-371.

Boin, A., Stern, E., & Sundelius, B. (2016). The politics of crisis management: Public leadership under pressure. Cambridge University Press.

Dückers, M. L., Yzermans, C. J., Jong, W., & Boin, A. (2017). Psychosocial crisis management: the unexplored
intersection of crisis leadership and psychosocial support. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, 8(2), 94-112.

Gathering information about security threats. A panel for stakeholders to share ideas on current and future research

This panel will field a discussion about the contributions of behavioral and social science research to national and international security efforts. Many kinds of security threats pose problems across Scandinavia and Europe, for example, gang violence. Gathering information about those threats is crucial for averting the concomitant dangers. Research psychologists and criminologists support the efforts of law enforcement agencies by drawing on the science of human behavior to facilitate information-gathering. Aspects of legal/forensic psychology have examined how to conduct investigative interviews to elicit information about threats from the relevant people. For example, the interviewing of witnesses, victims, and suspects of past crimes, as well as questioning informants about imminent future crimes. Criminologists have looked into who commits crimes and why they do, for instance, the examination of criminal networks and how they operate. Criminologists and investigative interviewing research psychologists hardly collaborate, although the fields are closely related. This panel offers the needed opportunity for disseminating diverse research on gathering information about security threats. The forum is also an avenue for law enforcement officers to present issues that future research should address. Ultimately, the panel aims to culminate in an open discussion about the following. (a) How can stakeholders better collaborate on research about information-gathering in the security arena? (b) Can future experimental research designs capitalize on emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality (i.e., VR and AR) to mimic actual scenarios, thereby producing more practical results? The ideas to be exchanged during this panel will be useful to anyone interested in the enterprise of gathering information about security threats.


David Neequaye, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

How differences matter in emergency, risk and crisis management

Today, research on social differentiation has a relatively coherent starting point in deeming social categories like e.g. gender, ethnicity, class, age as culturally constructed and not something that exists only by itself (cf. Enarson, Fothergill & Peek 2006; Giritli Nygren & Olofsson, 2014) This panel addresses how this kind of differences are understood and handled during emergencies, risk and crisis management. Crisis management is strongly linked to social norms and to the definition of what constitutes a crisis were masculinity play a crucial role (Danielsson, 2016 Ericsson, 2011; Ericsson & Mellström, 2016). Crises are constructed in the definition of what is a crisis, in the organizing of crisis management and crisis preparedness, in the language and story of crises and in which stories are important to pass on (Ericson and Mellström, 2016; Öhman et al., 2016). Understandings of the concepts risk and crisis have also often been based on patriarchal and Eurocentric schemes in research as well as practice (Bradshaw & Linneker 2017; Hervik, 2019; Giritli-Nygren et al., 2017). This, in turn, has contributed to the fact that crisis management in various forms has traditionally been associated with men and masculinity and European white supremacy, whereas vulnerability have rather been seen in relation to women and 'the Other', which are being rationalized and ethnized (Ericson 2011; Ericson & Mellström 2016; Giritli Nygren & Olofsson, 2014; Hervik 2019; Olofsson & Rashid, 2011). In addition, the gendered dimensions of dealing with risk (Wester, 2012) and especially how the perspective of social differences is part of the profession of emergency management still needs more considerations (Olofsson & Rashid, 2011; Olofsson et al 2014).  

In this panel, we welcome critical analytical perspectives in order to move this field forward.


Erna Danielsson, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
Mikkel Bøhm, University College Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nina Blom Andersen, University College Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark


Bradshaw, S. and B. Linneker (2017) ‘Gender Perspectives on Disaster reconsruction in Nicaragua: Reconstructing Roles and Relations?’ In E. Enarson and P. G. D. Chakrabarti (eds) Women, Gender and Disaster. Sage, New Delhi. pp. 75-88.

Danielsson, E. (2016) ‘Framing Crisis’. Paper presented at the SRA-E Open Chapter, Göteborg.

Enarson, E., & Morrow, B. (1998). The Gendered Terrain of Disaster: Through Women's Eyes. Praeger, Westport Conneticut.

Enarson, E., & Meyreles, L. (2004). International perspectives on gender and disaster: differences and possibilities. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 24(10/11), 49-93.

Enarson, E., Fothergill, A., & Peek, L. (2006). Gender and disaster: Foundations and directions. In H. Rodriguez, E. L. Quarantelli, & R. Dynes (Eds.), Handbook of disaster research (pp. 130-146). New York: Springer.

Ericson, M. (2011) Nära inpå : maskulinitet, intimitet och gemenskap i brandmäns arbetslag. Göteborg, Department of Sociology, University of Gothenburg.

Ericson, M. and U. Mellström (2016) ‘Firefighters, technology, masculinity in the micro-management of disasters: Examples from Sweden’. In E. Enarson and B. Pease (eds) Men, masculinities and disaster. Routledge, pp 165-174.

Giritli Nygren, K., & Olofsson, A. (2014). Intersectional approaches in health‐risk research: A critical review. Sociology Compass, 8(9), 1112-1126.

Giritli Nygren, K., Öhman, S., & Olofsson, A. (2017). Doing and undoing risk: The mutual constitution of risk and heteronormativity in contemporary society. Journal of Risk Research, 20(3), 418-432.

Hervik, P.  red. (2019) Racialization, racism and anti-racism in the Nordic countries. London: Palgrave.

Olofsson, A., & Rashid, S. (2011). The white (male) effect and risk perception: Can equality make a difference?. Risk Analysis: An International Journal, 31(6), 1016-1032.

Olofsson, A., Öhman, S., & Giritli-Nygren, K. (2014). (O)avsiktliga konsekvenser av riskkommunikation vid extraordinära händelser: Skogsbranden i Västmanland 2014. Östersund, Sweden: Forum för Genusvetenskap, Mittuniversitetet.

Wester, M, (2012). Risk and Gender: Daredevils and Eco-Angels. In Handbook of Risk Theory: Epistemology, Decision Theory, Ethics, and Social Implications of Risk. Roeser, S., Hillerbrand, R., Sandin, P. & Peterson, M. (eds.). Dordrecht: Springer, p. 1029-1048

Öhman, S., Giritli Nygren, K., & Olofsson, A. (2016). The (un) intended consequences of crisis communication

How to ensure our future - prevention of low-chance or far-off catastrophes by states

Dealing with long-term risks is increasingly core business of states in developed nations. Over the past century, material discomforts of and risks to the average peace-time inhabitant of a developed country have decreased significantly. Simultaneously, our tools for scientific assessments of future risks have improved drastically. As a consequence, most developed nations now have analytical capacities, financial means and political space to deal with long term risks such as climate change, the emergence of malign artificial intelligence and future pandemics. Wealth makes fearful. But how to rationalize a states’ response to the unthinkable – a catastrophe that could destabilize the whole of society? In this panel we look at how states try to predict the future, assess its risks and strive to lessen their impact.

Recent experience has demonstrated the weight of this question. Covid-19 laid bare a wide divergence in preparedness of governments in developed countries. Although governments of countries with more intensive experiences of previous coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS were, generally speaking, better positioned to respond, not all cross-country variation in preparedness can be traced back to previous experience with (threats of) an epidemic. One potential source of variation is a difference in the capability of countries to effectively predict the risk of a pandemic. Another is the capability of states to act effectively on that knowledge.

These two state capacities – to accurately gauge long-term destabilizing risks and, subsequently, to act effectively upon that knowledge – are of consequence to a wide range of policy domains, reaching far beyond public health. As state tasks, they are also notoriously challenging to democratic systems. Long-term investment by the state in efficient risk mitigation is constrained by electoral room for imposing short-term costs, salience and (un)certainty of effects and by levels of state capacity. In addition, potentially destabilizing risks often neither originate nor are they limited in scope of impact to a political unit with mitigation powers: neither a malign AI, nor climate change induced natural disasters, nor the next emerging virus with epidemic potency are likely to care much for nationalities. Therefore, game theory is probably also needed to map the
challenges that governments face in their mitigation efforts.

Our panel will welcome contributions from all fields that offer insight into this question. From the practical (what state institutions predict risk?) to the philosophical (why and how much do we care about the end of humanity?), and from its micro-origins (what biases prevent us from thinking about disaster?) to its macro-implications (what should societies rationally speaking spend on low chance risk catastrophe mitigation?).


Bas Heerma van Voss, Radboud University, Netherlands
Ira Helsloot, Radboud University, Netherlands

Imagining (and preparing for) disaster in the anthropocene

Recently, the notion of Anthropocene has made its way into the humanities and social sciences. It seeps into academic discussions about our historical, contemporary and future ways of living, destabilizing traditional distinctions such as those between nature and culture, local and global, present and future, us and them. As noted by Lidskog and Waterton (2016), the Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of both humankind and of the earth, when natural forces and human forces become intertwined, so that the fate of one inflects the fate of the other. Accordingly, the Anthropocene ranks among the most important scientific programmes of the past 15 or 20 years and it might even become the new metanarrative of the twenty-first century (Chernilo, 2017). This metanarrative implicates a new universal “we” loaded with knowledge, responsibility and agency (Lidskog & Waterton, 2016:403). Hence, through the lens of Anthropocene we must specify the particular influence of human action on the earth system, and account for the relationships between the scientific and the political in regards to our actions (Chernilo, 2017:45). This panel invites participants to explore our understanding of disasters through a lens of Anthropocene. On an overarching level, we may ask if the notion of Anthropocene is or may become a relevant analytical tool within the transdisciplinary field of disaster studies. (What) does the Anthropocene add to previously established metanarratives, as for example Ulrich Beck´s (2009)  idea that we are now living in a global risk society, characterized by transboundary or de-localized risks, or is the Anthropocene just old wine in new bottles? Moreover, in what ways do our resent insight into our human impact on, and responsibility for, the earth´s ecological systems (resulting in extreme climates and increasing disasters) influence our imagination of possible futures and our means of preparing for those futures? Does thinking about future disasters through a lens of Anthropocene change our ways of preparing for and responding to such events? Has the Anthropocene brought about a change in our relationship to the natural world, which affect our ways of imagining future disasters? As noted by Tiessen (2018), if the great acceleration of ecological destruction we are currently living through only began during the past century or two, then, our relationship to the natural world and to ourselves is one that can change drastically across times and spaces (p. 81).


Mikael Linnell, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden


Chernilo, D. (2017) The question of the human in the Anthropocene debate.  European Journal of Social Theory, 20(1), 44-60.

Lidskog, R. and Waterton, C. (2016) Anthropocene – a cautious welcome from environmental sociology? Environmental Sociology, 2(4), 395-406.

Beck, U. (2009) World at Risk. Polity Press.

Tiessen, M. (2018) Our Anthropocene: Geologies, biologies, economies, and new pursuits of profit and power. Space and Culture, 21(1), 72-85.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on population mental health: International perspectives

Like any disaster or crisis, the ongoing global COVID-pandemic can impact the mental health of those affected. Because the pandemic and the resulting preventive measures to contain it impact all facets of society, the consequences touch on the lives of everyone. The duration of the pandemic may further undermine the capacities of individuals to cope with its consequences. Furthermore, it is unclear when this pandemic will end, and when its related consequences (e.g. economic, healthcare, social and psychological) will reach pre-COVID-19 outbreak levels. Therefore, in order to monitor the impact of the pandemic on mental health of those affected, longitudinal measurements are needed among general population samples. Preferably prospective studies, so that pre-COVID baseline mental health levels can be established.

Countries are affected to a differing degree by the pandemic, and impose different measures at different times. As a result, the consequences of the pandemic will not be the same across countries, which may result in alternate developmental pathways of population mental health and wellbeing. A comparison of the currently available evidence suggests that the development of mental health problems during this ongoing crisis is not the same between different countries.

An international comparison of the longitudinal development of mental health and wellbeing of the general population will provide insight in the impact of the pandemic on a population level, and will help to compare risk- and protective factors.

In this panel, we invite researchers from different countries to present (prospective) longitudinal studies that examine development of mental health problems among the general population. The panel session will be concluded with a joint reflection on the factors that drive the differences and commonalities found between patterns of mental health across countries. The conveners provide a perspective on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing of the general population of the Netherlands.


Mark Bosmans, Nivel – Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Netherlands
Peter Van Der Velden, CentERdata, Netherlands
Michel Dückers, Nivel – Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Netherlands


Velden, P.G. van der, Hyland, P., Contino, C., Gaudecker, HM., von, Muffels, R., & Das, M. (2021). Anxiety and
depression symptoms, the recovery from symptoms, and loneliness before and after the COVID-19 outbreak among the general population. Findings from a Dutch population-based longitudinal study. PLOS ONE.. 16(1):e0245057. https://do.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245057

Velden , P.G. van der, Contino, C., Das, M., Loon, P van, & Bosmans, M.W.G. (2020). Anxiety and depression
symptoms, and lack of emotional support among the general population before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A prospective national study on prevalence and risk factors. Journal of Affective Disorders, 277, 540-548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.026

Velden, P.G. van der, Marchand, M., Cuelenaere, B. & Das, M. (2020). Pre-outbreak determinants of perceived risks of corona infection and preventive measures taken. A prospective population-based study. PLOS ONE,
15(7):e0234600. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234600

Velden, P.G. van der, Marchand, M., Das, M., Muffels, R, Bosmans, M. The prevalence, incidence and risk factors of mental health problems and mental health services use before and 9 months after the COVID-19 outbreak among the general Dutch population. A 3-wave prospective study. In review.

Velden, P.G. van der, Bakel, H. van , Das, M. Mental health problems among Dutch adolescents in 2012 and 2016, and 9 months after the COVID-19 outbreak. In review.

Institutional settings in flood hazard and risk management

All over Europe, flood hazard and risk management is quite static, and underlying hazard and risk maps are compiled based on hazard probability times exposure and vulnerability of elements at risk. This is true not only for those countries where such hazard or risk maps have already been successfully implemented for decades, but also for countries who were required to respond to the 2007 EU Floods Directive. Reasons are mainly rooted in the institutional settings, which is materialized through respective laws and regulations in European countries. Despite considerable efforts in hazard mitigation and risk reduction, however, a substantial amount of loss still is recorded. The main reason for this paradox lies in a missing consideration of dynamics in risk, and these dynamics have different roots: Firstly, neglecting effects of climate change and systems dynamics, the development of hazard scenarios is based on the static approach of design events. Secondly, due to economic development and population migration, elements at risk exposed are subject to spatial and temporal changes. Hence, individual and community resilience can hardly be increased without addressing these issues, and institutions play a key role to include these dynamics in order to achieve resilient societies.

Institutional settings are thus responsible for different dimensions of vulnerability to flood risk. Apart from physical, social, economic and ecologic dimensions, the institutional dimension has not been sufficiently taken into consideration so far. Neither has institutional vulnerability to natural hazards been thoroughly investigated until now, nor have institutional dimensions of vulnerability been sufficiently included in practical implementation and policy advice. Here, we define institutional vulnerability as the combination of the weaknesses embedded in institutions that reduce the capacity to resist, withstand, cope or recover from the impact of a flood event (Papathoma-Köhle et al., 2021).

In recent years, multiple efforts have been undertaken to overcome this gap and to achieve a better flood risk management in European countries. These include, but are not limited to, an increased stakeholder engagement in hazard and risk mapping (Srinivasan et al., 2018), research efforts in role-playing games (Terti et al., 2019) or other methods such as the Q-method (Attems et al., 2020) or mapping exercises (Meyer et al., 2012) to include stakeholder knowledge in mapping and communicating flood risk (OECD, 2016). Elsewhere, these efforts have been summarized as citizen science (Hicks et al., 2019). It has been argued that the most effective way to understand informational needs of stakeholders is to establish and nurture a two-way communication to co-produce knowledge between scientists and decision-makers, to build relationships, trust, and credibility over time (Gill et al., 2021) so that the institutional vulnerability can be reduced.

For this panel session we invite contributions focusing on such efforts with the aim to reduce institutional vulnerabilities in flood risk and beyond. Building on existing good practice or on innovative approaches, contributions that provoke discussion in the hazard community are invited, with a particular focus on gaps and needs as well as perspectives in the institutional setting of natural hazard management beyond static concepts of hazard probabilities and risk. Contributions of hazard scientists which collaboratively work with partners and stakeholders to develop hazard information products are welcome, particularly if these efforts are across disciplinary boundaries.


Sven Fuchs, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria
Alexander Fekete, TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Konstantinos Karagiorgos, Karlstad University, Sweden
Margreth Keiler, University of Innsbruck and Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria
Lars Nyberg, Karlstad University, Sweden


ATTEMS, M.-S., SCHLÖGL, M., THALER, T., RAUTER, M. & FUCHS, S. 2020. Risk communication and adaptive
behaviour in flood-prone areas of Austria: A Q-methodology study on opinions of affected homeowners. PLoS one, 15, e0233551.

GILL, J. C., TAYLOR, F. E., DUNCAN, M. J., MOHADJER, S., BUDIMIR, M., MDALA, H. & BUKACHI, V. 2021. Invited perspectives: Building sustainable and resilient communities – recommended actions for natural hazard scientists. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 21, 187-202.

HICKS, A., BARCLAY, J., CHILVERS, J., ARMIJOS, T., OVEN, K., SIMMONS, P. & HAKLAY, M. 2019. Global mapping of citizen science projects for disaster risk reduction. Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, 226.

MCCARTHY, S., SEIDEL, J., SCHEUER, S., PALKA, G., UNNERSTALL, H. & VIAVATENNE, C. 2012. Recommendations for the user-specific enhancement of flood maps. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 12, 1701-1716.

OECD (ed.) 2016. Trends in risk communication policies and practices, Paris: OECD Publishing.

PAPATHOMA-KÖHLE, M., THALER, T. & FUCHS, S. 2021. An institutional approach to vulnerability: evidence from natural hazard management in Europe. Environmental Research Letters.

SRINIVASAN, V., SANDERSON, M., GARCIA, M., KONAR, M., BLÖSCHL, G. & SIVAPALAN, M. 2018. Moving sociohydrologic modelling forward: unpacking hidden assumptions, values and model structure by engaging with stakeholders: reply to “What is the role of the model in socio-hydrology?”. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 63, 1444-1446.

TERTI, G., RUIN, I., KALAS, M., LÁNG, I., CANGRÒS I ALONSO, A., TOMMASO SABBATINI, T. & LORINI, V. 2019. ANYCaRE: a role-playing game to investigate crisis decision-making and communication challenges in weather-related hazards. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 19, 507-533.

Knowledge management and "unforeseen crises"

The panel links with the overall topic of NEEDS2021 by aiming to significantly contribute to the discussion on knowledge management as a tool for prediction, prevention, preparedness and management of "unforeseen" crises.

Phenomena with global and great social impact, like the increased refugee movement to Central Europe between late summer 2015 and spring 2016 or the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020 seem to come unexpected and have a long-lasting appearance. Emergency managers and related professionals, but also civil society are engaged in coping with the
circumstances while long-term strategic decisions need to be made at the same time. Decisions made in an early phase of a
crisis can set the ground for further path dependencies. Relevant stakeholders instantly operate at full capacity and form adhoc
networks to tackle overwhelming situations in cooperative approaches. These required ad-hoc networks and other
improvised interim solutions to answer eruptive crises often do not anticipate the lengthiness of operations. A common lapse,
for example, is the omission of a timely implementation of a knowledge management system.

The panel welcomes contributions from a variety of perspectives, e.g.

  • The role of organizational learning: Which influence does organizational learning from crises like the so-called "refugee crisis" or COVID-19 have on organizational structures and processes? Which “good practices” and "lessons learned" can be integrated into organizational modes of operation for the future?
  • Knowledge management: What makes it so difficult to manage knowledge for and in crises? To which extent and in which forms does implicit and explicit knowledge find its way into an accessible resource for future crises? How does a crisis knowledge management become accepted, sustainable and flexible? Which obstacles interfere with the implementation and utilization of crisis knowledge management and how can they be overcome?
  • Crisis management: How does crisis management and knowledge management fit together before, during and after mastery of urgent crisis? To what extent is a combination of the two approaches at all useful, unnecessary or even (non-)practicable? How do the two management approaches influence each other (potentials and barriers)?
  • Inter-organizational perspective: How can knowledge management be transformed into an inter-organizational project in order to overcome isolated solutions? Which benefits or conditions could motivate organizations to participate on knowledge sharing?

Potential panelists are encouraged to apply with empirical, theoretical, and methodological research relevant for a better understanding of crisis knowledge management. Crisis management practitioners are equally welcome to introduce their perspective on the implementation and utilization of crisis knowledge management.


Malte Schönefeld, University of Wuppertal, Germany
Jana-Andrea Frommer, German Police University, Germany
Patricia M. Schütte, University of Wuppertal, Germany
Yannic Schulte, University of Wuppertal, Germany
Chantal Höhn, German Police University, Germany

Law in Crisis? Analysing the Challenge of Making Laws Work in and after Disasters and Crises

The panel takes stock of how law functions in crisis. Key questions that the panel seeks to answer are: How are laws – including national, regional and international laws – used as instruments to deal with crisis? How do laws enable or restrain action by governments and other actors during crisis? How can laws help protect democracy, rights and freedoms and institutional accountability during and after crisis? That is, what is the ‘optimal balance’ of executive power and constitutional safeguards for crisis situations? And, importantly, how do we study what law does in crisis? What methods do we use to decipher law in crisis?

While the intention of the panel is not to focus primarily or solely on the Covid-19 pandemic, it can here be used to exemplify what law in crisis can be taken to mean. A comparative outlook shows that although most countries have undertaken similar measures to deal with the health crisis, the legal strategies that have enabled these measures have been quite different. National legal strategies have ranged from continuing business as usual, adopting a series of regulations using either regular law or different forms of emergency power, to proclaiming states of emergencies. Focusing just on Europe, governments have also chosen very different strategies vis-à-vis the EU and its civil protection frameworks and the Council of Europe and
derogations from the European Convention on Human Rights. There has also been opportunism: the power of governments and their security forces have been enhanced, independent oversight mechanisms have been sidelined and regulations are being fast tracked while the attention of opposition groups and human rights watchdogs is elsewhere.

The rule of law, the idea that nobody’s above the law and that law protects the democratic system, is fundamental for contemporary societies. However, what the Covid19 pandemic shows is that there is not one way to uphold the rule of law in a crisis, but also that it is not evident to uphold the rule of law in the midst of a crisis. The tensions or ruptures in the rule of law and especially its role in protecting democracy are particularly prevalent in situations where a crisis lingers on, overlaps with or transforms into other crises, puts a strain on basic societal functions, or is normalized. Understanding and analyzing these developments is important for legal scholars, but also for all those interested in understanding societal responses to, and resilience in, crises.

For this panel, we welcome especially papers that focus on how contemporary legal systems – national, regional and international – function in and may change in crisis, especially in prolonged, complex crisis situations. We also welcome papers that focus on what methodologies to use and how to analyze the effects of such crisis situations on contemporary legal systems.

The panel is organised by the research group Law, Society and the Extraordinary (LaSE) at the Department of Law at the University of Gothenburg. The panel is part of the LaSE’s ongoing project "The legal framework for civil protection and preparedness" funded by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. 


Sari Kouvo, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

On the epistemology of crises and disasters

The increasing and constantly evolving wickedness of extraordinary events requires sophisticated methodologies, agile and nuanced enough to adapt to a shifting societal context. What is more, the interdisciplinary character of crises, emergencies, and disasters, not to mention the teams researching them calls for methodological pluralism. In this panel, we take a pragmatic methodological approach. Pragmatism addresses the “so what” and the “what does it matter” of research and “…unstiffens all our theories, limbers them up and sets each one at work” (James, 1907/2014, p. 63). It offers the bridge from theory to practice and considers the practical implications on the ones who are being researched. Encompassing elements from positivism and constructivism, it allows for the usage of both qualitative and quantitative methods, depending on the kind of data collected. In this panel, we welcome papers addressing methodological issues in disaster, crisis, and emergency management research, regardless the orientation of the method itself or the data collected. We especially welcome innovative research designs such as experimental, interpretative or narrative, in addition to mixed methods and survey research.


Jörgen Sparf, RCR, Östersund, Sweden
Evangelia Petridou, RCR, Östersund, Sweden


James, W. (1907/2014). Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking Retrieved from

Organizational learning and change during the "Blue Skies"

The challenges posed by disasters can be an impetus for organizational change. Organizational change has
been defined as a process during which organizations move from a state to another to increase their
performance (Jones, 2013) and sometimes this passage can be planned or unplanned. Disasters can uncover
organizational needs that require improvement. Organizations might take advantage of these “blue skies” to apply lessons learned and, in order to boost their adaptive capacity, they may update their organizational
processes, internal structure, supply chains and other external networks. Furthermore, they may engage in
reflection and foster organizational learning in order to better prepare, respond and cope with future hazards, which may be different or more complex.

Below are examples of the types of questions this panel aims to explore:

  1. How do organizations integrate lessons from previous disasters during the blue skies?
  2. How do they increase their adaptive capacity to new threats and emergencies?
  3. How do they re-arrange or improve their organizational structures?
  4. How do they reconfigure their infrastructure?
  5. Do they integrate new forms of technology in order to improve their ability to respond?
  6. What role does organizational storytelling play in boosting resilience during the blue skies?
  7. How do organizations ensure that their networks and supply chains become more resilient?
  8. How effective is the creation of disaster partnerships and alliances in boosting adaptive capacity?
  9. How is crisis knowledge managed in between disasters and how does this affect resilience?
  10. How effective are different forms of training in boosting preparedness? Is there a difference between perception and actuality?

For this panel we invite submissions that analyze how organizations learn and change during quiet times in an interdisciplinary fashion; the aim is to gather empirical and theoretical works from a broad range of disciplines that include, but are not limited to: Organizational Sciences, Disaster Management, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Studies, Information and Data Management, Facilities Management, Engineering, International Relations, Military / Defense, Police / Security, Water Management, Geology, Public Policy and Public Administration, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Leadership Studies, etc.


Paolo Cavaliere, University of Delaware, Newark, USA
Femke Mulder, Vrije University, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Jones, G. R. (2013). Organizational theory, design, and change. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Post-apocalyptic dystopias and disaster studies: Crossdisciplinary perspectives on environmental challenges today

This panel aims to strengthen a dialogue between utopia/dystopia as a literary genre and disaster studies by discussing post-apocalyptic narratives while addressing climate change, disasters, resilience and displacement.

Post-apocalyptic utopias and dystopias show humans in constant evolution, coping with the end of the world, in extreme environments where it is essential to survive. Likewise, the social sciences have developed post-traditional and post-rational thinking, relating risks and disasters to societies in which every actor brings a different perspective. Radical reconfigurations of social, political, cultural and environmental factors are presented in an attempt to govern the complexity of human beings.

Understanding a disaster requires a comprehensive analysis of the historic, symbolic, affective, and sometimes religious background that characterizes the relationship between a community and its surroundings. In this sense, the notions of imaginaries, local narratives and memories play an essential role in understanding catastrophic scenarios.

For this panel, we invite papers that focus on interdisciplinary debates with a clear linkage to post-apocalyptic literature, including but not limited to approaches on climate change adaptation, socio-environmental risks, resilience, displacement, solidarity, social change and ethics in disasters. Moreover, we strongly encourage contributors to intersect theoretical frameworks and empirical scenarios, including insights into literature and contemporary debates on disasters.


Paola Spinozzi, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
Matias Barberis Rami, University Of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Preparing for future crises: Temporal possibilities and their materialisations

Envisioning the future entails concrete actions and plans that simultaneously seek to draw on past experiences and stake out new courses for improving human lives and capacities. Disaster preparations sit right in the middle of these temporal entanglements of the past, present and future. The relations between disaster preparations and visions of the future bring the temporal possibilities of what “may happen”, what “could have been”, and what “might come to be if…”, into an actionable present. As disaster preparations plan for crisis-prone futures, experience from the past has also shown the limits of what planning can do and what we can actually prepare for. Thus, planners are caught in a perpetual cycle of anticipations, preparations and other forms of materialising crisis responses.

In this panel, we address the plans for disasters-to-come. From terrorist attacks, mass displacement crises, epidemics, climate-change induced catastrophes to bio-terror threats and species extinction, the preparation for these disasters come in a myriad of forms. The planning process entails concrete exercises, discursive framings of both visions of security and possible threats, and include multiple socio-political practices and relations. Some plans envision dystopian scenarios whereas others promote more utopian visions of collaborative efforts in which state and non-state actors address the existing gaps between disaster relief responses and disaster risk reduction programs. Some plans are narrow scoped and concerned with preparing for the next emergency in a specific geographical area or regarding a particular type of threat or risk. Others are broader and deal with tackling intersecting crises in the Anthropocene and how to reconcile the current status quo with potentially safer and securer futures, such as projects of preservation.

We welcome contributions that zoom in on the empirical and creative aspects of creating such plans, e.g. the writing of scenarios; the practical exercises involved; theoretical explorations of planning for utopian and dystopian futures; as well as comparative papers exploring the interlinking temporalities of past, present and future emergency responses and how they materialise in everyday lives. We also encourage panellists to reflect on the following: To what extent are crises actually thought to be avoidable or plannable? Is it possible to think about preparedness alongside chronic crisis? What is the relationship between crisis, critique and creativity? How can we learn from speculative imaginaries and plans of crisis scenarios?


Cecilie Baann, Aarhus University, Denmark
Tanja Hendriks, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Charline Kopf, University of Oslo, Norway

Rethinking disasters and social change: Beyond hope and despair

What is the capacity for disasters to produce responsible social change? The productive potentials of disaster are expressed in promises of ‘building back better’, celebrations of disaster communities, commitments to learning and greater democracy. But how can we theorise capacities for responsible social change in the context of the devastation being wrought by apparently interminable crises such as climate emergency, mass extinction or conflict? And in the context of repeated denial of responsibility for disasters, refusal to learn, and exploitation of disasters for political power or financial gain? And with global politics that encourage the concentration of political and economic power, and indeed the provocation of emergencies for political ends?

A ‘politics of hope’ (Freire, 1992) has often been proclaimed as a positive counterweight to a politics of critique whose analysis of the structural perpetuation of suffering invites despair or fatalism. Recent scholarship, however, has questioned the adequacy of ‘hope’ as a guide to responsible action. Osborne (2018) argues that ‘hope’ has been already annihilated by the fact of living through the disasters knowingly occasioned by neoliberal economic policies and environmental pollution. Hope becomes ‘cruel optimism’ when the only route to potential justice for disaster-affected persons is to commit to an almost unwinnable fight (Fortun, 2008; Berlant, 2011). Hope has a theological flavour, a belief that something better must be possible because ‘good’ must prevail. But is ‘hope’ a necessary commitment in the work of risk mitigation or disaster recovery?

This panel takes up the invitation to think beyond the ‘progress narrative’ and ‘salvation’ implied by ‘hope’, to consider alternative ways of theorising responsible agency after disasters (Tsing, 2015). It explores ways of thinking about positive action beyond the binaries of hope/despair, optimism/pessimism, and success/failure. What if successes and failures coexist? What if we theorise a condition of ‘thriving with disaster’, of ‘staying with the trouble’ (Haraway, 2016), rather than, or alongside, pinning our survival on an idealised future? This panel aims to update our theories of positive social change and responsible human agency for contemporary dystopian times, to encourage supportive action without relying on utopian hope.


Flora Cornish, London School of Economics & Political Science, London, UK
Nimesh Dhungana, London School Of Economics & Political Science, London, UK


Berlant, L. G. (2011). Cruel optimism. Duke University Press.

Fortun, K. (2009). Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, disaster, new global orders. University of Chicago Press.

Freire, P. (1992). Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. A&C Black.

Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.

Osborne, N. (2019). For still possible cities: A politics of failure for the politically depressed. Australian Geographer, 50(2), 145–154. https://doi.org/10.1080/00049182.2018.1530717

Tsing, A. L. (2015). The mushroom at the end of the world: On the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press.

Sharing the Recurring Disaster Experience, Research and Innovation of Asian Nations

This panel attempts to share the experiences, knowledge and innovations associated with recurrent disasters within Asian societies. Since the 2000s, Indonesia, India, China, Japan, and their Asian neighbours regularly make the world news headlines for their catastrophic experiences of natural hazards. The Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami (2004), the Sichuan Earthquake (2008), the Great East Japan Disasters (2011) are among the most striking examples. Beyond these particular events, Asian nations withstand, albeit less impacting, recurring hazards. Japan experiences, again and again, earthquakes and the ensuing menace of tsunamis. Indonesian islands sit on the ring of fire and continuously prone to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. India and Bangladesh experience regular floods and droughts. Such nations develop particular modes of environmental, technological and cultural adaptations as well as technological innovations.

This panel examines how these so-called “high-frequency, low impact hazards” contribute to the formation of the sociocultural fabrics and disaster expertise of Asian nations. To this effect, it brings together experts of disaster in Asian societies to consider the following questions: What are the specificities of their disaster experience, research and innovative practices? How can we best transfer these lessons to fit new socio-cultural paradigms?chlTo answer these questions, each presentation examines the experiences of an Asian society through the looking glass of interdisciplinary perspective. In doing so, it also examines some of the resulting environmental, cultural and technological adaptations developed by its people through time. To conclude, the panel discussion considers the opportunities and challenges to adapt these coping mechanisms by a foreign culture/society. This discussion hopes to foster grounds for future collaborations between Asia and other nations in coping with disasters.


Sébastien Penmellen Boret, Tohoku University, Japan
Takako Izumi, Tohoku University, Japan

Standardisation in Disaster Risk Management: between operational necessity and political sensitivity

Standardisation is one of the areas in disaster risk management with the biggest potential impact. Several EU-funded projects have addressed the issue in recent years, such as ACRIMAS, DRIVER+, ResiStand and the recently started STRATEGY. Research results from projects such as IN-PREP, FIRE-IN or the DG ECHO-financed Crisis Management Hub pilot have time and again shown the explicit operational need for a certain degree of (procedural) standardisation to ensure the effective deployment of resources across borders, for example via the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Similarly, interoperability plays a role in the exchange of response capacities internationally, e.g. across the American continent, for example in wildfire response or search and rescue activities. In short, the question is simple: how can a common level of training, as well as interoperable standard operating procedures (SOPs) and equipment be guaranteed, if not through standards? Practitioners have long acknowledged this reality, as they are the ones confronted with the realities of insufficient interoperability.

In this sense, some measure of standardisation is important not just for response operations, but also for prevention and preparedness. It is critical in developing new doctrine, new equipment, new trainings. And while initiatives are underway to address the technical side of standardisation through joint procurement and the exploration of hard standards, the potential for soft standards such as guidelines and development of multi-national (standard operating) procedures remains to be further explored. The search and rescue domain with its INSARAG Guidelines and the development of Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) as well as the cyber security sector, where Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) are increasingly standardised, in Europe for example through accreditation by a European Task Force are examples that could be of value for other domains.

Despite showing its potential through successful examples, standardisation, together with the related aspects of harmonization and interoperability sometimes cause fierce discussions, as some might perceive them as undermining national sovereignty. As it stands, disaster risk management is throughout all its phases mainly under the auspices of states. This holds true even in the EU with its UCPM. Indeed, the discussion is part of a wider discourse on sovereignty in internal security in general. In a political sense, interoperability is thus an asset to ensure a state’s own integrity, but relinquishing even small bits of control can cause controversies.

It is in this contested area that we want to pose the following questions: how can one balance legal and political frameworks based on sovereignty on the one hand, and the very real need of practitioners for standards on the other? How can resources be shared across jurisdictions? What complementary approaches can facilitate standardisation? What benefits exist for softer approaches to standardisation as compared to hard standards? And can we link these benefits with potential fields of action?


Philip Sendrowski, Fraunhofer INT, Germany
Claudia Berchtold, Fraunhofer INT, Germany
Eric Kennedy, York University, Canada

Storytelling, Gamification & Co: Using Creative Tools to Design Disaster Cultures in the Anthropocene

During the past few centuries, human activity has evolved into a geological force that exerts an impact on the world’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere that is profound enough to justify the proclamation of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. This new epoch is characterised by an increasing instability of the environment that becomes most obvious in the elevated likelihood, frequency, and intensity of natural hazards striking in ever more densely populated and tightly interconnected areas, thus putting global societies and economies at major risk.

While many of these natural hazards cannot be prevented, in disaster research it is beyond doubt that hazard does not equal disaster. Rather, it is the affected community’s immaterial cultural predispositions that determine how hazards are perceived, interpreted, dealt with, and, ultimately, whether or not they trigger disaster. Designing and implementing effective disaster cultures in communities, organisations, and societies thus plays a crucial role in reducing disaster risk and building resilience in the Anthropocene.

Cultural factors that foster resilience and reduce disaster risk include familiarity with certain types of natural hazards, the ability to make sense of the events, effective standardised coping rituals, collaboration in disaster relief, as well as commonly known narratives that preserve knowledge of past hazard events and facilitate learning from them. This panel will explore how in-between-disasters spaces can be utilised to employ creative tools like storytelling – from ancient flood myths to disaster movies, future scenarios, and science fiction –, gamification or experienced-based learning approaches for disaster risk reduction and the design of emotionally resonant, effective disaster cultures in communities, organisations, and societies.


Justine Walter, Contingency Institute, Germany

The interplay of crisis and art

Since the 1980s, art and culture have, on a global scale, been considered to be a means to economic development and revitalization of distressed urban areas (Comunian, 2009; Florida, 2002a;b; Lloyd, 2006; Zuckin, 1982; 1989), while in the EU they are seen as a way towards territorial cohesion in peripheral rural regions (Petridou and Ioannides, 2014). However, art itself rarely functions as the telos of such arguments; rather it remains a means to some end. In this panel, we seek to further investigate the role of art in (contested) urbanscapes, We build on existing literature (see, for example, Leventis, 2013; 2017; Leventis, Ioannides and Petridou, 2015) and invite papers seeking to understand, how art (including street art) may inform, anticipate or reflect changes to the urban landscape and social fabric of the city during times of crisis. Further, we call for investigations into the interplay of art and the contextual factors of space and crisis.


Evangelia Petridou, RCR, Östersund, Sweden
Dimitri Ioannides, ETOUR, Östersund, Sweden
Panos Leventis, Drury University, Springfield, MO, USA
Todd Lowery, Drury University, Springfield, MO, USA


Comunian, R. (2009), ‘Questioning creative work as driver of economic development: The case of Newcastle-Gateshead’, Creative Industries Journal, 2: 1, pp. 57–71.

Florida, R. (2002a), ‘Bohemia and economic geography’, Journal of Economic Geography, 2: 1, pp. 55–71. ____ (2002b), The Rise of the Creative Class, New York: Basic Books.

Ioannides, D. , Leventis, P. & Petridou, E. (2016). Urban Resistance Tourism Initiatives in Stressed Cities : The Case of Athens. In: Reinventing the Local in Tourism: Producing, Consuming, and Negotiating Place.A. P. Russo and G. Richards, (eds). Bristol : Channel View Publications, pp. 229-250.

Leventis, P. (2013). Walls of Crisis: Street Art and Urban Fabric in Central Athens, 2000-2012. Architectural Histories 1 (1), Crisis Issue, EAHN, pp 1-10.

Leventis, P. (2017). Dead Ends and Urban Insignias: Writing Graffiti and Street Art (Hi)Stories along the UN Buffer Zone in Nicosia. In Graffiti and Street Art: Reading, Writing and Representing the City, K. Avramidis and M. Tsilimpounidi (eds.), Routledge, pp. 135-163.

Lloyd, R. (2006), Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City, New York: Routledge.

Petridou, E. and Ioannides, D. (2012), ‘Conducting creativity in the periphery of Sweden: A bottom-up path towards territorial cohesion’, Creative Industries Journal 5: 1+2, pp. 119–137, doi: 10.1386/cij.5.1-2.119_1

Zukin, S. (1989), The Culture of Cities, Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Zuckin, S. (1982), Loft Living,New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University

Thinking multi-hazards and multi-stakeholders: a new approach for disaster management after COVID -19

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted by 187 countries at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 and became a blueprint of a DRR strategy for the next 15 years and provided concrete actions to protect development gains from the disaster risks. It emphasized the scope of the agreement includes not only natural hazards but also various hazards as follows:

"the present framework will apply to the risk of small-scale and large-scale, frequent and infrequent, sudden and slow-onset disasters, caused by natural or manmade hazards as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks. It aims to guide the multi-hazards management of disaster risk in development at all levels as well as within and across all sectors".

However, the major focus of the current DRR strategies and plans is on natural hazards, and hardly include other hazards such as pandemic, industrial and technological hazards (Natech), nuclear hazards and human-induced hazards as their targets. In order to support and implement the framework, it is crucial to understand the risks of different hazards and develop disaster management strategies and plans taking into consideration the risk reduction towards multiple hazards.

For instance, the year of 2020 was extremely challenging to universities, faculty, and students in education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our regular classes, educational programs, field visits etc were tremendously restricted. Students, faculty and administration staff were struggled to shift teaching and learning methodology to online. Most of universities have not prepared for pandemic and have struggled to fight with it. The question is how we could prepare for these various hazards and different stakeholders could collaborate to tackle them.

This session aims to share the experience and research on preparedness, response, and recovery against various hazards, identify the common area on risk management to tackle all these hazards, and how the current international, regional, and national strategies could be enhanced. This session invites and welcomes speakers and presentations especially about the preparedness, response and recovery from various hazards especially non-natural hazards.


Takako Izumi, Tohoku University, Japan
Sebastien Boret, Tohoku University, Japan

Towards what futures? The political dimensions of sustainable development and resilience

Different concepts used in political and policy processes can be understood as the interstices, where the formulation of possible futures takes place. Two such concepts with great relevance over later years (1980s and onwards) is sustainable development and, with increasing importance lately, resilience. This panel focuses on two issues related to the formulation of possible futures through these concepts. The first issue concerns how the concepts are used, with what connotations and impacts in political and policy processes? These concepts are not neutral but pliable constructions that can be used for different political purposes. Concepts with mainly positive connotation such as sustainable development and resilience can be very powerful political concepts as they, through their lack of precision and flexibility, can facilitate political agreements without the mess of agreeing on detailed measures etc. At the same time these properties also mean that they are less efficient when it comes to implementation in administrative settings. The second issue has to do with the value rationalities and power relations underpinning the mainstream conceptualizations of sustainable development and resilience. In the research literature several competing conceptualizations of sustainable development and resilience have emerged. Explicitly or implicitly, these entail different priorities in terms of values and norms. Each conceptualization is also based on distinctive assumptions about what is need to reach what is defined as positive futures. In light of this, it becomes important to discuss questions such as: where are we currently going? Why? Is this development desirable? For whom? Who gains and who loses from this, and by which mechanisms of power?


Mikael Granberg, The Centre For Climate And Safety (CCS), Karlstad, Sweden
David Olsson, The Centre For Climate And Safety (CCS), Karlstad, Sweden
Tove Bodland, The Centre For Climate And Safety (CCS), Karlstad, Sweden