Tuesday 6
Knowledge for disaster resilience: Exploring memory, governance and resilience in practice
Erin Bohensky, Anne Leitch
› 15:40 - 16:40 (1h)
› Rondelet
Knowledge for disaster resilience: Exploring memory, governance and resilience in practice
Erin Bohensky  1@  , Anne Leitch@
1 : CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

Local, place-based knowledge about social-ecological systems is thought to build resilience to uncertainty and rapid change, such as that posed by natural disasters. Learning from such knowledge is considered critical for societies living in disaster-prone areas such as coastlines, floodplains and peri-urban bushland. While disaster management and risk reduction are expanding to encompass the role of human agency and behaviour, these domains can benefit further from the various scholarly traditions on knowledge and how they relate to resilience. Less widely appreciated are the processes by which knowledge is harnessed to respond to disasters and how knowledge scales up from individuals to larger social groups and social-ecological systems and is harnessed in times of need. Among these is social memory—“the long-term communal understanding of the dynamics of environmental change, and the transmission of the pertinent experience (McIntosh 2000:24)”—that becomes salient as societies anticipate and recover from disaster events. Governance structures and processes too are critical for enabling knowledge for social learning and collective action to address the various phases of disasters. Lastly, the discourse that both shapes and reflects disaster knowledge and with which disaster management practitioners interact is key for the application of knowledge.

This session will explore questions of memory, governance and practice through studies of different types of disasters around the globe. The session is being run in parallel with a blog, where the following questions are being posed for discussion, which presenters in this session and other researchers in this field are asked to address from theoretical and practical perspectives:

1. What theories best support understanding of social memory, disasters and social-ecological resilience?

2. How does cultural context matter?

3. Can social memory increase resilience? If so how?

4. Can social memory decrease resilience? If so how?



  • Introduction to session by chairs (5 min)


  • Memory and the ‘new normal': Australian media discourse around bushfires, floods and cyclones - Anne Leitch and Erin Bohensky (10 min)


  • 24008 From disaster risk to disaster resilience of communities: promoting ecosystem-based management and social governance capacity - Jeanne Nel, Belinda Reyers, Dirk Roux 


  • 25034 Disaster risk governance: dimensions, variations and transformations - Emily Wilkinson


  • 24206 Framing resilience: practitioners view of its meaning and usefulness in disaster risk management practice - Paulina Aldunce, John Handmer, Ruth Beilin, Mark Howden 

  • Other
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