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  Disasters and the role of community resilience

   Faculty of Engineering, Computing and the Environment

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Community resilience has become a central part of disaster management approaches over recent years, adopted by policymakers and practitioners’ worldwide. The pandemic seems to have reinforced this approach as well as highlighting the importance of local people supporting one another, for example through mutual aid groups. 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. In particular this is likely to impact on already vulnerable groups who may lack the necessary resources make themselves resilient. So what role for community resilience, how does this relate to the wider voluntary and community sector and how do these groups interact with emergency professionals tasked with promoting community resilience?

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.

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