Political Responses to Natural Hazards: Social Movement Participation Following a Flood Disaster

November 1991 (VOL. 9, NO. 3)

Download this article

While much research attention has been focused recently upon understanding and interpreting social movements which emerge in response to technological hazards, comparatively little work has been directed toward the systematic examination of factors related to protest activity in the aftermath of natural hazards. The authors study community activism after a major flood mitigation project failed to provide the promised protection from storm water damage. They conclude that citizen response to natural events is becoming far less distinct from that witnessed in the aftermath of man-made events, because the technology to mitigate impacts of natural disasters is becoming more available. The results of the study show that solidarity is a necessary ingredient for social movement facilitation, particularly when the movement is loosely structured and urgently organized, and that the presence of solidarity aids in the communication of grievances, recruitment of members, and the coordination of activities.