Social vulnerability refers to designing social research blaikie pdf inability of people, organizations, and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple stressors to which they are exposed. These impacts are due in part to characteristics inherent in social interactions, institutions, and systems of cultural values.
However, social vulnerability is a pre-existing condition that affects a society’s ability to prepare for and recover from a disruptive event. The concept of social vulnerability emerged most recently within the discourse on natural hazards and disasters. To date no one definition has been agreed upon. Most work conducted so far focuses on empirical observation and conceptual models. Both the causes and the phenomenon of disasters are defined by social processes and structures.
Although different groups of a society may share a similar exposure to a natural hazard, the hazard has varying consequences for these groups, since they have diverging capacities and abilities to handle the impact of a hazard. It involves a combination of factors that determine the degree to which someone’s life and livelihood is at risk by a discrete and identifiable event in nature or society. The work illustrated by means of empirical data that the occurrence of disasters increased over the last 50 years, paralleled by an increasing loss of life. The work also showed that the greatest losses of life concentrate in underdeveloped countries, where the authors concluded that vulnerability is increasing.
Chambers put these empirical findings on a conceptual level and argued that vulnerability has an external and internal side: People are exposed to specific natural and social risk. Research on social vulnerability to date has stemmed from a variety of fields in the natural and social sciences. Yet some common threads run through most of the available work. Socially created vulnerabilities are largely ignored, mainly due to the difficulty in quantifying them. The chain sequence begins with the hazard, and the concept of vulnerability is noted implicitly as represented by white arrows.