How Social Vulnerabilities Are Important Within Disaster Research

2333 Words Nov 22nd, 2016 10 Pages
Throughout history there have been various definitions present on what a disaster is and the effects that it contains in relation to the environment and residents within the area. Society often has specific dominant worldviews in regards to disasters, which can pertain to or focus around disasters being seen as a “hazard”, “unlucky”, or an “unavoidable “ event (Scandlyn et al, 2009). Generally, many individuals tend to reflect on definitions in relation to conventional theories because the media often prioritizes disasters as being catastrophic or an end of the world phenomenon. What these individuals fail to understand is the importance of recognizing that we cannot only view disasters in this way, however we must also understand how social vulnerabilities are important within disaster research. Vulnerabilities can be described as “not a state of being that emerges in response to a disaster – it is something that precedes it. It is conceptualized as an intrinsic predisposition to be affected, or to be susceptible to damage” (Furedi, 2007, p.488). When we explore disasters from a vulnerability approach, individuals can recognize how the meaning of a disaster can change and we are able to realize that disasters often have increased impacts due to the social vulnerabilities already present within society. One of the most well known environmental disasters that continue to develop is the Alberta tar sands. The Alberta tar sands also known as “ Athabasca oil sands” have been…

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