Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The social construction of crisis: Deconstructing the complex pathways linking disaster, conflict, and peace Public Deposited

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  • We are witness to an ever tighter coupling between natural hazard-related disasters ("disasters") and violent social conflict ("conflict"). Previous research has established that disaster has the propensity to lead to conflict, and conflict, in turn, has been found to contribute to disaster vulnerabilities. The field of disaster diplomacy, by contrast, has studied how disaster and disaster-related activities may provide opportunities for increased cooperation and peace in otherwise conflict-affected regions. However, surprisingly little research seeks to integrate these three main findings and explore how disaster, conflict, and peace may be linked in complex ways over the long term. This research seeks to fill this gap by examining the multiple pathways connecting disaster, conflict, and peace at multiple institutional scales. In order to achieve this objective, I conducted a critical literature review of research across disaster, conflict, and peace studies, and I conducted in-depth interviews with 32 disaster risk reduction (DRR) experts living and working in 25 disaster- and conflict-affected countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The key findings include that 1) conflict contributes to disaster risk creation and amplification through diverse causal pathways at multiple institutional scales, 2) disaster can influence both conflict and peace either sequentially or simultaneously, and 3) the relationships between disaster, conflict, and peace are locally embedded and complex. This research advances foundational theory building on the causal pathways linking disaster, conflict, and peace, and it explicitly offers practical recommendations for more nuanced and targeted DRR strategies and approaches in conflict-affected regions.
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