Project Objectives

Pursuing its goals towards culturally-informed solutions for disaster management, CARISMAND aims at realizing the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: To provide a broad multi-disciplinary overview of existing knowledge about the cultural factors that may shape and influence citizens’ risk perceptions, emotions, and risk behaviour in the context of man-made, natural and technical disasters, and establish a sound theoretical basis for improving disaster policies and procedures.

This literature review-based objective is to bring together approaches from cognitive science, cultural anthropology, psychology, sociology, and victimology regarding established, and potential, links between risk perception and culture. The distinct multi-disciplinary character of this overview is, furthermore, to allow a critical comparison of different co-existing methodologies and concepts, for example towards the definition of cultural factors and risk perception itself, to identify sustainable paths for a culturally informed disaster management.

  • Objective 2: To provide a detailed gap analysis between current legal frameworks, policies, regulations and actual practices across different European countries regarding the inclusion of cultural aspects in the disaster management cycle, and identify best-practice examples and the structural potential to implement them in other locations

This gap analysis is to be based on a comprehensive review conducted by legal experts in close cooperation with disaster managers and security agencies in a variety of locations. This review and analysis will be adapted and refined over the project’ life-time in a number of stakeholder assemblies, feeding into a specific toolkit for policy makers and disaster managers in their daily practice.

  • Objective 3:  To identify how disaster risk communication itself is embedded in culture – including the role of the media in risk communication – and which cultural factors within disaster management organisations influence the effectiveness of professional management and response

This objective is to analyse risk communication models and styles in disaster management in relation to their inclusion of cultural factors, and the influence of cultural factors on the effectiveness of disaster management units. Lack of cultural understanding can be, however, not only a question of lacking awareness or education, but also be grounded in “internal” organisation cultures and resulting communication styles. On the other hand, though, cultural ties between disaster managers and disaster victims can also be used to increase sensitivity and competence. Given the important role of the media in this context, the potential of a culturally sensitive risk communication “mediated” through the public media, is to be additionally explored.

  • Objective 4: To explore the possibilities and current practices of how cultural aspects can strengthen the ability of citizens and communities to prepare for disaster situations, respond efficiently and accelerate recovery processes, proposing recommendations for disaster managers on how cultural values can be used for citizen empowerment

This objective will link a specific literature review and a state-of-the-art review on community empowerment concepts and practices with empowerment in different socio-economic, environmental and cultural contexts – including the effects of culture-specific gender roles – how these different factors are connected, and how they can inform efforts for more resilient societies.   

  • Objective 5: To analyse citizens’ uptake – or rejection – of different technologies in disaster preparation, response, and recovery, exploring how different technology acceptance cultures can contribute to both successful disaster management and enhancement of citizens’ coping strategies

In addition to the exploration of the general possibilities to increase citizens’ coping skill in disaster situations through the strength of cultural factors, this objective is to provide a comprehensive overview of the specific relation between cultural factors and the acceptance of different technologies, ranging from the formal and informal use of social media to smartphones and innovative information platforms for crisis management, exploring their potential for further improvement and cultural adaptation.  

  • Objective 6: To develop over the project’s life-time an active feedback-loop between disaster management stakeholders and citizens is to establish, test and refine solutions for culturally informed best practices in disaster management and benefit from a wide cross-sectional knowledge transfer

On-going results of all work packages will feed into the content of six Citizen Summits and three Stakeholder Assemblies. Both types of events will be designed as a combination of dissemination, coordination and feedback gathering actions and take place in different locations where different disaster risks are prevalent. They will provide a constant feedback loop in three cycles building upon each other. This dynamic concept is specifically targeting new and unexpected problems in disaster situations that have not been researched so far, and the development of solutions that are explored in direct communication with citizens and disaster management stakeholders.

  • Objective 7: To develop a “formal” toolkit for disaster management stakeholders, as well as a knowledge base that is “mapping” culture in the context of disaster and can be used by disaster managers in their everyday practice as well as by interested citizens for awareness, information and empowerment purposes

This objective is to provide a toolkit for stakeholders at all levels and to comprise of a formal set of recommendations towards implementation and/or improvement of policies, guidelines, educational measures, and further knowledge transfer activities, as well a “cultural map” which in its design as an intuitive knowledge base will be available online, downloadable, and adaptable to the individual or institutional needs of formal and informal disaster managers as well interested citizens in their daily lives.

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