Building up CARISMAND Knowledge on Risk Perception and Risk Cultures

As a key task under CARISMAND Work Package 4, “Risk Perception and Risk Cultures”, the team of the University of Novi Sad has been developing a multi-disciplinary overview of the existing knowledge about the individual and cultural factors that may shape and influence citizens’ risk perceptions in the context of man-made, natural and technical disasters.

In June 2016 they shared their advance in assessing the concepts of risk perception and building the theoretical foundations of their work. They have discussed the influence of various individual factors on citizens’ risk perception in the context of different disasters. (You could find the report D4.1“Mapping Risk Perception Concepts in the Context of Disasters” here)

Their second report, completed in October 2016, takes the team’s research a step further and looks from a broader cultural perspective. It is considered that when exposed to certain risks or disasters, people tend to employ local, culturally specific, processes in their preparedness, response and recovery from a disaster and these processes are not always adaptive. Therefore, in order to understand citizens’ behaviours in the context of disasters, the report aims to provide understanding on the socio-cultural factors that guide those behaviours and affect people’s risk perception.

The University of Novi Sad Team looks into several cultural factors in this context, such as:

  • social vulnerability, which refers to the social groups’ susceptibility to the impact of hazards, as well as their ability to adequately recover from them (Cutter & Emrich, 2006);
  • values and beliefs which also affect risk perception; for example, the team has identified a number of studies showing that stronger religious beliefs are related to a lower level of perceived risk (Billing, 2006; Sachdeva, 2016);
  • trust in authorities - an important factor that influences public communication about risk

WP4 Team has also identified several shortages of the existing studies on the subject.

Find out more in the full text of the Summary of Report D4.2 ‘Report on ‘risk cultures’ in the context of disasters’, available here.

Follow our CARISMAND News section for more updates on Work Package 4, ‘Risk Perception and Risk Cultures’.



Literature Cited:

Cutter, S. L., & Emrich, C. T. (2006). Moral hazard, social catastrophe: The changing face of vulnerability along the hurricane coasts. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 604(1), 102–112.

Billig, M. (2006). Is my home my castle? Place attachment, risk perception, and religious faith. Environment and Behavior38(2), 248–265.

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