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Bridging the divide: understanding collaborative action in disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction through socio-cultural activity theory

Pradytia P. Pertiwi (Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 19 January 2022

Issue publication date: 17 May 2022




This paper presents a methodological reflection on the use of socio-cultural activity theory (SCAT) as a framework to understand collaborative action and problem-solving between people with disabilities and non-disabled stakeholders in three disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives led by Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) in Indonesia.


This paper is based on case study research, using a multiple case design. It looks at the conception and implementation of three DPO-led DRR projects in Indonesia. It focuses hereby on the processes and outcomes of collaborations between DPOs and non-disabled stakeholders. It presents a reflection as to what extent the six elements of SCAT were present.


The investigation of SCAT's six elements captured the co-construction of DPO-led DRR projects and constant changes and transformation in implementation. The findings reveal the dynamics of the collaboration between DPOs and non-disabled stakeholders (e.g. funding donors, DRR experts, government and community groups) and its outcomes and learning points.

Practical implications

SCAT can provide a better understanding of collaborative learning processes and associated outcomes between DPOs and DRR actors. Such collaborations facilitate the timely and relevant inclusion of people with disabilities in DRR initiatives through DPOs' leadership in DRR. Furthermore, such initiatives can promote the realisation of the disability-inclusion principle of the Sendai Framework for DRR, which is underpinned by the all-of-society approach to DRR.


This paper presents a reflection on the use of SCAT in inclusive disaster studies, thereby enabling further investigation and understanding of how the collaboration between disabled and non-disabled stakeholders occurs, and its implication. This is a topic that has been rarely tackled in the disability and disaster studies literature and practice.



The author is greatly thankful to, mentor, Professor Laura Stough, for the invaluable feedback and guidance provided during the mentoring period that has greatly shaped the focus of this article. The author also thanks, peer, Ms Anna Torres-Abblitt, anonymous reviewers and editors of this special issue whose feedback have comments and input have contributed to improve the clarity of this article. Lastly, the author wishes to thank Ms Jeevika Vivekananthan for sharing her view of how this article could contribute to provide innovative ways to re-frame, reflect and act on the complexities of associated sociocultural elements that influence the disability-inclusive practices.


Pertiwi, P.P. (2022), "Bridging the divide: understanding collaborative action in disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction through socio-cultural activity theory", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 166-174.



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