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Resilience: detecting vulnerability in marginal groups

Veselin Mitrović (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 7 April 2015




The purpose of this paper is to detect causes of potential vulnerability via indicators of non-resilience among marginalized groups. These causes could become a catalyst for a major deprivation of resilience and further victimization of a group, either while disaster is occurring or in its aftermath.


Exploration of resilience was based on social and economic research conducted in Serbia 2012-2013 with one of the most vulnerable communities, with the goal of mapping local understandings of resilience in contrast to issues of risk and vulnerability. A specific two layer methodology, i.e. phenomenology of desperateness was based on sociological imagination and social action.


The author detected and labeled the most relevant socio-economic causes of miserable life conditions among the given marginal group. Such analytical dimensions become marked as the indicators of vulnerabilities. Mapping these vulnerabilities, especially among the marginal communities, is the first step in preventing their victimization.

Practical implications

The responsible social agents are compatible with the creation of the relevant map and profile of the most vulnerable actors with the goal of preventing a possible eugenics selection during DRR and response.

Social implications

In addition to preventing victimization during a disaster, this study provides preventives of the sentiment-driven actions induced by paternalistically organised everyday life (established by way of the same indicators) within the framework of a new totalitarian ideology, such as a para-military organization of daily activities.


This paper provides a specific methodology for detecting desperateness as an inner process in vulnerability and new insights into the comprehension of the relation between social structure of marginal groups, their resilience and their members’ vulnerability.



This research was supported entirely by a grant from the Ministry of the Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, entitled “The Challenges of the new Social Integration: Concepts and Agents” (grant no. 179035) during the period 2010-2015, for which the author is extremely grateful. This paper is also the result of the work on the Cost Action IS1201 Disaster Bioethics. Many thanks to Professor Naomi Zack of the University of Oregon, who provided very useful comments to a previous draft of this manuscript. The author would like to express appreciation for constant professional support, colleagueship and valued friendship to Srdjan Prodanović, fellow sociologist at the University of Belgrade. The author is grateful to J.C. Gaillard and Emmanuel Luna (Editors, DPM) for editorial advice. The author is also grateful for the astute comments and support from the two external reviewers for this journal. The responsibility for the content remains the author’s own.


Mitrović, V. (2015), "Resilience: detecting vulnerability in marginal groups", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 185-200.



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