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Community response to crises and disasters: from preparedness to practices Passed

Wednesday September 22, 2021 15:30 - 17:30 C

Workshop leaders: Linda Kvarnlöf, Roine Johansson
Presenters: Celie Hanson, Chika Watanabe, Erna Danielsson, Kerstin Eriksson, Lachlan Summers, Pär Olausson, Sophie Kolmodin

  • Dynamics of Collaboration: Exploring the Relationship Between Civil Society Organizations Caring for Refugees in Sweden, Sophie Kolmodin
  • Incorporating Histories: How Social Movements in Mexico City Avoid Solidarity, Lachlan Summers
  • Why volunteering? –Different reasons for getting involved, Kerstin Eriksson, Erna Danielsson
  • Interrogating Household Preparedness: Gender, Race, and Resourcefulness in the Face of Disaster, Chika Watanabe, Celie Hanson
  • Critical Infrastructure Governance for Risk and Crisis Management - The Role of Regional Airports in Remote Areas, Christine Große, Pär M Olausson

Panel description

Many disasters, such as wildfires, floods and terrorist attacks, have a fairly localized impact area, even if the ultimate causes of the event may be of a more global character. In such cases, community response, outside the realm of the professional responders that are commonly considered the ‘core’ of crisis management, can express itself in a variety of forms:

Volunteers of different kinds have perhaps received the lion’s share of scholarly attention. They may assist the professional responders, but may also work independently in a more unofficial response operation. They may be members of voluntary emergency organizations such as The Red Cross, but they may also lack an organizational affiliation and work together in informal groups.

Volunteers are not the only actors appearing in community response. When a crisis occurs, its effects often have to be dealt with by people performing their ordinary work during extraordinary circumstances. For example, teachers have to teach their pupils even if the school has been burnt down. This kind of practice in crisis management has not until recently been recognized in the literature.

Another kind of community activities taking place outside the official system of emergency preparedness and response is household preparedness, i.e., preparations for crises undertaken by individuals or families in their own homes. A closely related type of activities is carried out by people living in the vicinity of a disaster area, sometimes under threat of having to evacuate their homes.

In this panel, the abovementioned, and other similar, local actors and activities are grouped together under the heading of “Community response”. Many interesting research questions on this topic deserve scholarly attention. Just to take one example: Volunteers during crises are increasingly attracting the attention of governments and actors in the official national systems for civil protection and preparedness. This has led to attempts, in several countries, to organize the less organized community response actors. But is everything possible to organize? What will happen to people’s commitment to make voluntary contributions for the community, if they are turned into service providers for the government rather than community members helping one another?


Profile image for Linda Kvarnlöf

Linda Kvarnlöf Workshop leader

PhD Sociology
Mid Sweden University

Roine Johansson Workshop leader

Mid Sweden University

Profile image for Celie Hanson

Celie Hanson Presenter


Profile image for Chika Watanabe

Chika Watanabe Presenter

Senior Lecturer, Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Profile image for Erna Danielsson

Erna Danielsson Presenter

Mid Sweden University

Kerstin Eriksson Presenter

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Lachlan Summers Presenter

PhD candidate
UC Santa Cruz

Profile image for Pär Olausson

Pär Olausson Presenter

Associate Professor
Mid Sweden University

Profile image for Sophie Kolmodin

Sophie Kolmodin Presenter

PhD candidate
Mid Sweden University

My research interests are organization and collaboration among organizations and individuals in various "crisis" events such as forest fires and climate change. My current work focuses on how civil society organizations (CSOs) and individuals collaborate in relation to caring for refugees within rural and urban contexts in Sweden.