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Figurative and literal ripples spreading across the social landscape: A qualitative study on the community response to a disaster

Palmer, Charlotte (2011) Figurative and literal ripples spreading across the social landscape: A qualitative study on the community response to a disaster. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

A weakness of disaster research is the tendency to focus on only the severely affected. This study interviewed a range of disaster victims in order to gain a full understanding of a community’s recovery process. Specifically this study aimed to develop an Bailey, Mort et al.’s (2004) understanding of the insider vs. outsider binary that is often created through disaster scenarios, to discover the role storytelling plays in recovery (Bailey, Convery et al., 2004) and focus on the shared sense of community produced (Convery & Bailey, 2008). This study hopes to improve on previous literature by taking in a much wider sense of community to gain a bigger picture of a community response. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts revealed that community members initiate their recovery process through sharing their disaster experiences with those they trust thus revealing the binary of insiders vs. outsiders. Ultimately this process was found to result in an increased solidarity and mutual supportiveness within the community. This process helps build on disaster response predictability.

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