Who are "they" - victims or survivors?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Disaster is a hazard that affects people through taking away their homes, livelihoods and loved ones, leaving them in search of shelter, security, food and water. Academic literature on disaster resilience aims at understanding and alleviating the pain of the people affected by disasters. While the aim is shared by the authors, the underlying assumptions differ. The people affected by a disaster can be framed either as victims or as survivors. The agency of the disaster victims fades to the background and their dire conditions are set by the circumstances and structures of the society. The disaster victims need external aid and are potential aid beneficiaries. The survivors, on the other hand, are depicted as empowered. They are parts of the society and its sub-communities and able to shape the circumstances. Disaster survivors are assumed to be resilient and are left to master their own recovery. Through exploring the conceptual terrain between a “victim” and a “survivor”, this conceptual paper uncovers the problematic belief in freedom of choice that is present in the literature and guides the solutions suggested for supporting the people in their survival. Furthermore, through the polar concepts the paper re-explores the role of a community, as opposed to an individual, in preparing for, responding to and recovering from a disaster.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings International Conference Moving Beyond Risks : Organising for Resilience
PublisherInternational Institute for Transdisciplinary Research on Critical Infrastructures
Publication statusSubmitted - 2015
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventMoving Beyond Risks: Organizing for Resilience - Bled, Slovenia
Duration: 16.09.201517.09.2015


  • 512 Business and Management


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