Social Dimensions of Disaster Recovery

August 2012 (VOL. 30, NO. 2)

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Research on disaster recovery has moved beyond earlier uni-dimensional, stage-oriented, and linear conceptualizations and toward approaches that recognize variability, social inequality and diversity, and disparities in recovery processes and outcomes. Theory development has been hampered by the lack of a systematic comparative focus and a failure to contextualize recovery within broader global and societal conditions and trends. Recovery theories should take into account a range of factors that include (1) pre-disaster factors that shape vulnerabilities and exposures at multiple scales, such as indicators of social and economic well-being and governmental capacity; (2) disaster impacts and their implications for recovery; (3) immediate post-impact responses; and (4) post-disaster variables such as the quality of governance systems; institutional capacity; civil society-state relationships; systems of social provision; the appropriateness, coverage, and equity of recovery aid; and post-disaster conditions, trends and events that occur independently of disasters but that also shape recovery processes and outcomes.