The Cultural Map is one of the final results of the CARISMAND project and represents a structured framework of a knowledge base, but with an intuitive and dynamic front-end that follows the equally dynamic ‘nature’ of culture and its connections with other factors such as socio-economic and environmental factors.
The Cultural Map is composed of specific findings referring to at least one disaster phase, involved actor, hazard type or cultural factor. These are the core pillars around which the information within the Cultural Map is organized.
Each disaster goes through four phases: (1) prevention – the identification of natural and human-related threats; (2) preparedness – the development of plans to carry out if a disaster occurs as well as the proper equipping of emergency services, training, exercising and involvement of the population in the process of preparedness through education and exercising; (3) response – the mobilization of emergency services and first responders involving as well the population/community and the civil society based on previous exercises and training; and (4) recovery – the restoration of the affected area and community to its normal functioning state including new measures of prevention based on lessons learnt when possible and feasible.
Hazards are dangerous phenomena, substances, human activities or conditions that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage. The hazards are classified into three major types: (1) natural hazards, defined as natural event that overwhelm local capacity, necessitating a request for assistance from national or international levels, (2) man-made non-intentional hazards or emergency situations like people transportation and goods carrying, industrial, mining, nuclear and radiological accidents, threats to critical infrastructure, cyber vulnerabilities, massive fires and environmental threats that result in loss of life, disorders, social, economic and environmental deteriorations that occur as a result of human activities and triggering of natural disasters, (3) man-made intentional hazards are hazards where the cause is intentional but also complex. Each of the three hazard categories has been divided according to more in-depth subcategories including all types of hazards covered by the CARISMAND project.
The Cultural Map is also built according to several types of actors involved in the disaster management processes that emerged out of the CARISMAND research. They play different roles, have perceptions, and may have needs that differ. The Cultural Map is designed to capture these differences. Sixteen sub-categories where used in this category based on the findings and the research carried out in the project and further refined to include actors that may differ in the type of response they provide (e.g., emergency responders sub-divided into fire service, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, local emergency management authorities, the military) and may be affected differently by cultural factors.
Taking account of individual experience in the disaster management policy, development is essential as objective strategies of prevention, preparedness, intervention and recovery can face different cultural barriers. Disaster management policies should, therefore, consider that different groups have different vulnerabilities when a hazard bursts. Hazards can be seen as cultural products of specific societies; similar hazards can induce different outcomes according to cultural specificities of different social groups. These processes are shaped by previous cultural factors of each demographic category resulting in structural differences between groups and can be differently experienced by them. Vulnerabilities are also considered products of cultural specificities of these societies. Accordingly, twenty-four cultural factors were identified throughout the CARISMAND project lifetime influencing hazard related policies: norms/values, customs/traditions/rituals, worldviews, open-mindedness, individual/collective memory, local knowledge, languages, communication, livelihoods, rule of law, power relations, attitudes toward authorities, attitudes toward the media, attitudes toward environmental issues, gender roles, age-related roles, ethnicity, socio-economic status, educational system, density of active citizenship, social networks, social control, social exclusion, and access and use of infrastructures/ services. Each cultural factor could be shaping specific disaster phase and actor’s response for each hazard type. Cultural factors are the raison d’être, and lie at the core of the Cultural Map.
Each finding composing the Cultural Map (“Cultural Map entry”) has been assigned to at least one specific disaster stage, hazard type, actor and cultural factor.
The Cultural Map introduced cultural factors and specific findings related to these factors that may be used independently in building culturally-aware disaster management policies, or in correlation with the specific recommendations provided in the Toolkit Recommendations Section. Thus, the Cultural Map complements the latter by linking the recommendations and their implementations to a specific cultural context that could further enhance their use by policy makers, disaster practitioners and citizens.
Each Toolkit recommendation is linked to all Cultural Map entries applicable to and all cultural factors associated with the respective recommendation (if applicable). This way a user can easily review the cultural aspects that may affect their decision in a specific disaster situation and modify their behaviour accordingly. The connection is two-fold meaning that each Cultural Map entry is then linked to the recommendations that applied to it.