Locating Social Capital in Resilient Community-Level Emergency Management

Short Description

Emergency management, despite the involvement of upper levels of government, tends to concentrate the responsibility for the delivery of services with local level authorities. It is in local spaces across most industrialised countries that planning, mitigation and emergency preparedness endeavours are undertaken prior to any risk event and from which the response and recovery efforts are undertaken (Perry and Nigg 1988). On closer examination, however, exactly what the ‘local level’ entails is not at all clear. Does the ‘local’ equate with politically defined cities, towns and rural spaces, or does it mean neighbourhoods, and other types of socially bounded entities in which people live their day-to-day lives? The former are more properly referred to as municipalities and the latter, as communities, yet in the disaster literature these terms are often conflated. Upon examination, it seems apparent that the way in which local authorities govern risk management issues is related to, but distinct from, the way in which communities deal with those same issues and that the boundaries of municipalities and communities are not coterminus; these interact in fluid and dynamic ways.

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Suggested Citation

Murphy, Brenda L. "Locating social capital in resilient community-level emergency management." Natural Hazards 41.2 (2007): 297-315