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Community Resilience – Benefit or Burden?

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

About the Project

Community resilience has become a central part of disaster management approaches over recent years, adopted by policymakers and practitioners’ worldwide. Yet both the terms ‘community’ and ‘resilience’ are complex and contested within the academic literature. There have been particular concerns that community resilience may be used by governments and others to shirk their responsibilities. There are also fears that by focusing on the concept of resilience and downplaying the work on vulnerability we ignore the factors within society that make people susceptible to disaster in the first place. Is asking communities to be responsible for their own resilience a positive step which recognises their valuable role and helps protect them at a time of economic restraint or is it an unrealistic expectation placed on those already facing the threat of disaster?

Students would explore these issues through appropriate case studies of their own choosing, either in the UK or abroad. The answer to this question is likely to be complex and the expectation is that a number of at risk ‘communities’ would be compared. There would be scope for tailoring the research question to students own interests. The project would take a social science focus and would involve qualitative research methods. Quantitative methods may also be used alongside if appropriate. Whilst the views of those within the communities required to be resilient will be central to the research the focus could be extended to include those responsible for implementing or managing community resilience in some way. Candidates will need a strong social science background and knowledge of the key concepts of community, resilience and vulnerability. Experience in qualitative methods is also required.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates

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