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Title: The deconstruction of volcanic risk : case study, Galeras, Colombia
Author: Roberts, Jessica
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2015
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History has shown that the combination of active volcanism and human populations can lead to devastating consequences, which at their most extreme have resulted in the collapse of entire societies. However these losses have not only been attributed to the impact of volcanic hazards but also the management strategies put in place to try to mitigate them, criticised for the detrimental long-term socio-economic impacts they have had on communities involved. General risk management theory argues that the failure of risk management strategies can be in part due to the poor risk assessment methodologies used to inform decision-making. ‘Insufficient’ or ‘inaccurate’ data is often attributed to disciplinary biases, a weakness in methodological tools and a focus on top down prescriptive approaches lacking in participation from those living with the risks in question. This thesis, acknowledging these broader debates, examines whether the way in which volcanic risk is assessed is fully representative of the complexities of the relationship between society and volcanoes. Using an empirical study of communities living on the Galeras volcano in Colombia, it compares the public experience of risk with the way in which it is interpreted and measured within Volcanology. Results of the study show that whilst previous volcanic risk assessments have been strong in their ability to capture data on volcanic hazards, assessment methods have been significantly weaker in their ability to address the threat of other non-volcanic hazards, social vulnerability and the social, economic and cultural value of the volcano environment. This thesis argues that a more sustainable approach to volcanic risk management is dependent upon risk assessments methodologies being developed that combine both the analytical frameworks of Volcanology with the experiential influences that drive the attitudes and behavior of the communities in question.
Supervisor: Snell, Carolyn ; Glass, Jayne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available