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Emergencies and affected peoples: philosophy, policy and practice

ERI Building - G51 (Ground Floor)
Friday 4 July 2014 (09:00-17:30)

Lauren Traczykowski



Keynote delivered by Professor David Alexander (UCL)

Enrico Quarantelli is considered the founder of the social science of disasters. His research offers that “a disaster is primarily a social phenomenon and is thus identifiable in social terms” (Quarantelli & Dynes, 1977, p. 24). The recognition that disasters are social incidents – as well as physical and political ones – is important to our understanding of what really happens in a disaster. A thorough understanding of the social component in disasters also helps us understand what needs to be done to bring society to a post-emergency normality. 

Emergencies and Affected People: Philosophy, Policy and Practice aims to investigate this relationship in order that we might inform policy and better support casualties of disaster. With a cross-discipline, cross-emergency-type concentration on those affected, discussants in this conference will investigate various societal realities and their connection with our experiences in emergency situations. Each panel has one academic and one practitioner; the panels were organized in this way in order to stimulate debate and balance theoretical and practical perspectives. 

There is a common theme, though, across the four panels: all social scientists – whether academics or practitioners – aim to inform debates around and improve how we help those impacted by an emergency. Our goal today is therefore to raise awareness of the societal issues that occur during a disaster and contribute to the debate about how best to help those affected.  

To register for the conference, please email with your name and affiliation. The conference is free to attend but registration is required as space is limited. 

Provisional programme: 

  • 09.30–10.00 Registration and coffee
  • 10.00–10.15 Welcome
  • 10.15–10.45 Keynote Speaker: Professor David Alexander (UCL, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction)
  • 10.45–11.45 Panel 1: The Agency of Affected People
    • Speaker 1: Nour Abu-Assab (The Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration): Power, Agency and LGBT Struggles in Conflict Areas  
    • Speaker 2: Alasdair Gordon-Gibson (St Andrews): Co-ordination, Co-operation, and Comprehension: the need for respect and awareness in humanitarian action
  • 11.45–12.00 Coffee
  • 12.00–13.30 Panel 2: A Way Forward for Communities
    • Speaker 1: Daniela Casula (Fondazione Patrizio Paoletti): Child Victims of Trauma: a return to normality
    • Speaker 2: Scott Wisor (Birmingham): Improving Disaster Response Through Complex Social Science and Simple Interventions
  • 13.30–15.00 Lunch
  • 15.00–16.00 Panel 3: Long Term Implications of Refugee Situations
    • Speaker 1: Nof Nasser-Eddin (The Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration): Negotiating Masculinities: the case of Iraqi refugees in Jordan
    • Speaker 2: David Korpela (Turku & Finn Church Aid) & Daniel Weyermann (Turku): Refugee Camps: ethical and practical challenges
  • 16.00–16.15 Coffee
  • 16.15–17.15 Panel 4: Rebuilding and Reconstruction
    • Speaker 1: Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University): Rebuilding and Restoration after Disaster: a case for Disaster Rights?
    • Speaker 2: Adrian Powney (British Red Cross): Livelihoods: The Recovery Operation and Economic Stabilisation following the Haiti Earthquake
  • 17.15–17.30 Final comments and close

Please contact Lauren Traczykowski for more information. 

This conference is being funded by the Centre for Learning and Development (CLAD) and the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham.

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