Local identities as a source of coping mechanisms


Local identities can also be a critical source of support in coping with life transitions like disasters. Drury (for literature reference see original source document) writes extensively and authoritatively about collective resilience, particularly crowd responses to disasters and hazards, in terms of whether people will cooperate or compete. He found that “emergent shared social identity is the basis of the cooperative and coordinated behaviour frequently observed in emergencies and disasters”, which is likely due to a sense of a “common fate”. His findings have led to a number of concrete recommendations for DMAs: First, emergency planners needed to accommodate the public urge to help. As well as being necessary, this could build unity and trust. Second, in order to have collective agency, the crowd requires information to act. People caught up in emergencies want information and feel anxious without that information. Third, trust was necessary. In the research on chemical incidents, the more professional responders were seen as legitimate by members of the public, the more the public came to share a social identity with them.

Note: See source document for full reference.

Applicable to:

Cultural Factors: Norms/values, Customs/traditions/rituals, Open-mindedness, Communication, Attitudes toward authorities

Hazards: Natural hazards, Man-made non-intentional hazards or emergency situations, Man-made intentional hazards

Disaster Phases: Response

Types of Actors Concerned: National civil protection body, Local authorities, Non-active citizens, Government, Red Cross, NGOs, Military, Law enforcement agencies, Healthcare and emergency services, European Civil Protection Mechanism, UN and other international organisations