To read this content please select one of the options below:

Lessons learned from the past for a better resilience to contemporary risks

Emmanuel Garnier (CNRS Chrono-Environnement Laboratory, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, University of Besançon, Paris, France)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 24 October 2019

Issue publication date: 11 November 2019

556

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the potentialities offered by a historical approach by addressing its scientific and societal issues as well as its opportunities at the scale of different continents and cultural areas. The authors then show the major role played by traditional societies and indigenous peoples in preserving and transmitting a culture of risk which today is threatened by an unprecedented memory break resulting from the process of globalization. Finally, the authors present two concrete examples of projects aiming to use historical lessons learned to reduce the vulnerability of local communities.

Design/methodology/approach

Historical documentation provides a series of very varied archives, voluminous and geographically scattered. Several types of series will be studied. Besides the written archives, the authors shall also realize an inventory of all the elements of the cultural heritage and the memory evoking the risks and the vulnerabilities.

Findings

This study shows how forgetting past disasters has contributed to increasing the vulnerability of the modern societies and building a “society of risk.” Paradoxically, industrialization and the era of the engineer opposed “pre-modern” societies to so-called “modern” societies. In this way, ancestral knowledge and strategies have often been despised in favor of hard defense works whose limits are now being measured after the recent disasters. On the other hand, the paper promotes a different model combining both engineering and local historical/cultural knowledge in order to design a more sustainable and applicable strategy.

Originality/value

The authors show the major role played by traditional societies and indigenous peoples in preserving and transmitting a culture of risk which today is threatened by an unprecedented memory break resulting from the process of globalization.

Keywords

Citation

Garnier, E. (2019), "Lessons learned from the past for a better resilience to contemporary risks", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 786-803. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-09-2019-0303

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles