The susceptibility of the vulnerable: some realities reassessed

James Lewis (Datum International, Marshfield, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 28 January 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This intentionally short paper considers the wide range of interpretations of “vulnerability” since its 1979 adoption in disaster studies and proposes some necessary separation and re-categorisation of its current applications.

Design/methodology/approach

The short history of the use of “vulnerability” in disasters studies is examined, contrasting present day contexts with those of its earliest use.

Findings

“Vulnerability” is retained for its conventional place-based role, whilst superimposed social and political constraints are allocated to “susceptibility”, a term often used to define “vulnerability”; the two terms taking on equal mutually supportive roles. Separation of the two terms is supported by on example of their realities in war and post-war conditions, together with other examples not in contexts of war. Separation of terms suggests the issue of whether manifestation of vulnerability brings about additional personal susceptibility.

Research limitations/implications

Implications are that both vulnerability and susceptibility may become better understood in disaster studies and its applications in the field.

Practical implications

The media is seen as a possible eventual target for a published version of this short paper so that, in time, public as well as academic readership may be reached.

Originality/value

Dissatisfaction occasionally expressed regarding uses of “vulnerability” has, so far, received little radical attention.

Keywords

Citation

Lewis, J. (2014), "The susceptibility of the vulnerable: some realities reassessed", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 2-11. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-04-2013-0066

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.