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Title: Hazard responses in the pre-industrial era : vulnerability and resilience of traditional societies to volcanic disasters
Author: Sangster, Heather
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis has two aims to: a. assess the vulnerability and resilience of traditional societies and those on the threshold of modernisation to volcanic and volcano-related disasters; and b. evaluate the extent to which historical events and their associated responses may inform future policies of disaster management. In order to address these aims this thesis has three objectives, these being: a. to test the strengths and weaknesses of two methodologies, an historical approach based on archival and other information - applied to Etna and Vesuvius and a set of techniques focused around vulnerability and resilience – applied to the Azores; b. to identify traditional strategies of coping and survival during the pre-industrial period in the three case-study areas; and c. to evaluate the potential use of these data in the development of future disaster management plans. During this research techniques from the earth sciences (i.e. field data collection) were combined with those more commonly seen in historical studies (i.e. archival data sources) to draw out the ways in which people have coped in the past to eruptions. Field visits were carried out on Etna, Sicily (Italy) and São Miguel Island, Azores (Portugal). The principal conclusions of this research are:- a. That the historical and vulnerability and resilience approach worked well, respectively for Etna and the Azores. b. Less successful was the application of the historical approach to Vesuvius. In contrast to Etna this reflected amongst other things the fact that the last eruption occurred nearly seventy years ago (i.e. in 1944) and since that time the ‘folk’ memory of volcanic activity has been largely expunged because of rapid economic development combined with population growth. c. In all three case study areas, volcanic earthquakes are an under-stated hazard; the process of development is increasing vulnerability and the practice of popular Catholicism does not prevent responses based on scientific understanding and civil defence planning. The study identifies that future work would benefit from the application of a vulnerability and resilience based methodology grounded within both historical and contemporary contexts.
Supervisor: Chester, Dave; Duncan, Angus M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General)