CARISMAND comprehensively addresses a number of specific challenges and scope through a variety of pre-defined tasks towards the following goals:
- To provide an in-depth multi-disciplinary review of state-of-the-art knowledge, past and on-going EU research, integrating the academic expertise from the fields of cultural and social anthropology, cognitive sciences, sociology, science and technology studies, law, victimology, and natural sciences; and
- To incorporate the practical experience of disaster managers from different local and organisational backgrounds, and innovative public-private initiatives which are based upon and track citizens’ active role in the distribution of information about disasters.
The innovative approach of the project will place at its very core the continuous information exchange with and between disaster management stakeholders and citizens through a number of Stakeholder Assemblies and largescale Citizen Summits. The reviews and analyses undertaken by project partners will not only be synthesised into recommendations for policies and procedures, but go beyond formal frameworks by providing a dynamic tool for disaster managers that will help in raising cultural awareness, promote culturally informed best-practices, and support citizens in exploring their individual and communal cultural strengths in the preparation for, response to and recovery from disasters.
In order to understand the links between culture, risk perception and disaster management – and make use of them for improving the effectiveness of disaster preparation, response and recovery, clear conceptual approaches are required, which provide a sound foundation for any measures to be developed. This applies in particular to risk and culture, as both have been studied for decades, or centuries, with conceptualisations that not only vary between public understanding and scientific research, but also between the different sciences. The innovative ideas for this project are related to the project organisation itself with Citizen Summits and Stakeholder Assemblies at its core, and the classification into man-made, natural and technical disasters.
- CARISMAND is focused on systematically “disentangling” how over-, under-, or misinterpretation of cultural factors in disaster management can hamper effectiveness – or cost victims’ lives.
- “Mapping” cultural factors in the context of disaster management is an on-going process for which CARISMAND is setting out to provide recommendations and tools for disaster managers that are adaptable and amendable.
- Defining culture, cultural groups, or cultural factors carries an inherent risk of producing normativity, difference and distinction. Therefore, CARISMAND is to develop carefully formulated information, education and dissemination materials and strategies which will avoid stereotyping and rather build upon social cohesion within, and across, cultures.
- CARISMAND follows a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary conceptual approach that aims to disentangle the effects of cultural differences on both perceptions and “feelings” of risk, how they correlate, and the role of an “affective rationality” that combines fast instinctive and intuitive reactions with logic and reason in new situations.
- CARISMAND builds upon and explore the extent to which the aforementioned motivational values may be activated to overcome such potentially life-threatening “inertia”. Not only disaster risk perception and emotions are embedded in culture, but also disaster risk communication itself, being based on different power relations, risk discourse styles, and organisational cultures within disaster management units. These “internal” cultural factors in disaster management will be linked by CARISMAND with the (potential) victims’ cultures, their mutual effects will be explored.
- By using categories that distinguish between natural, man-made and technical disasters, CARISMAND uses their contrasting effect to explore the specific effects of culture. The separation of technical and man-made disasters, in this context, is taking into account types of disaster that play an increasing role in disaster management but have rarely been targeted so far in the research context of disaster risk perception and culture: man-made non-technological disasters such as for example social disorder or riots. Each of the Citizen Summits and Stakeholder Assemblies will, therefore, have as a central theme a different type of disaster within the categories of natural, man-made and technical disasters. Additionally, attention will be paid to whether disasters are caused intentionally or not, the different “visibility” of hazards, and various time scales of disasters such as slow/fast onset and short- and long-term effects.