Using culture for empowering communities and individuals


A thorough analysis of the relevant literature demonstrates that culture itself can be utilised to empower communities and individuals. Paying heed to disaster cultures is the strongest example of this, whereby collective memory, adaptive responses and adaptive practices can all contribute to more effective disaster management. Local identities can also support the re-building of a sense of place and encourage proactive responses in disasters. Families, with their particular value systems, routines and the modes of expression within them, can aid coping skills. Strong social capital increases the chances of survival. Ultimately, it is a mistake to perceive socio-cultural factors as problems. Instead, disaster managers need to recognise the value of culture as functional and empowering.

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