Contextualizing social vulnerability: findings from case studies across Europe

Article


Kuhlicke, C., Scolobig, A., Tapsell, S., Steinfuhrer, A. and De Marchi, B. 2011. Contextualizing social vulnerability: findings from case studies across Europe. Natural Hazards. 58 (2), pp. 789-810.
TypeArticle
TitleContextualizing social vulnerability: findings from case studies across Europe
AuthorsKuhlicke, C., Scolobig, A., Tapsell, S., Steinfuhrer, A. and De Marchi, B.
Abstract

Social vulnerability is a term that has been widely used in the natural hazards literature for quite a few years now. Yet, regardless of how scholars define the term, the approaches and indicators they use remain contested. This article presents findings from social vulnerability assessments conducted in different case studies of flood events in Europe (Germany, Italy and the UK). The case studies relied upon a common set of comparable indicators, but they also adopted a context-sensitive, qualitative approach. A shared finding across the case studies was that it was not possible to identify a common set of socio-economic–demographic indicators to explain social vulnerability of groups and/or individuals for all phases of the disastrous events. Similarly, network-related indicators as well as location- and event-specific indicators did not have the relevance we expected them
to have. The results underline that vulnerability is a product of specific spatial, socioeconomic–demographic, cultural and institutional contexts imposing not only specific challenges to cross-country research concerning social vulnerability to flooding but also to attempts at assessing social vulnerability in general. The study ends with some reflections upon the methodological, practical and theoretical implications of our findings.

KeywordsFlood; Social vulnerability assessment; Indicators; Case studies; Europe; Interviews; Focus groups; Qualitative and quantitative methods; Triangulation
Research GroupFlood Hazard Research Centre
PublisherSpringer
JournalNatural Hazards
ISSN0921-030X
Publication dates
PrintAug 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jul 2012
Output statusPublished
Additional information

From the issue entitled "Vulnerability to natural hazards? The challenge of integration"

Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-011-9751-6
LanguageEnglish
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