PUBLI : Elisa Fornalé, Marco Armiero and Laura Odasso, « Trust in disaster resilience », Disaster Prevention and Management, vol. 32, n° 2, 2023

The erosion of ‘trust’ (among citi­zens as well as within and between insti­tu­tional levels) is a worrying aspect of these turbu­lent times in Europe and beyond. Trust (between citi­zens and insti­tu­tions, citi­zens and experts, poli­cy­ma­kers and experts, and among different levels of gover­nance) is crucial in all dimen­sions of disaster resi­lience. Risk percep­tions stem from a complex web of feed­back between indi­vi­duals, commu­ni­ties, insti­tu­tions, and experts. Some­times, insti­tu­tions and experts are slow or even resis­tant to accep­ting signals and know­ledge about risks coming from the grass­roots. Or, it is the other way around, and citi­zens are skep­tical about the infor­ma­tion coming from insti­tu­tions and experts. Thus, trust must work in all direc­tions (from citi­zens to insti­tu­tions, from experts to citi­zens, etc.) to build a coope­ra­tive frame­work for action.

Our article aims to explore the construc­tion of trust and distrust in commu­ni­ties dealing with histo­rical, actual, or poten­tial disas­ters by putting forward a three-dimen­sional approach (societal, coope­ra­tive, and insti­tu­tional). We convey the idea that less tangible aspects such as culture, contex­tual history, know­ledge, and habits shape the percep­tion of risk, the degree of prepa­red­ness and, ulti­ma­tely, the impacts of envi­ron­mental changes.

These elements affect coope­ra­tive beha­viors, and it is expected that the insti­tu­tional envi­ron­ment – which will vary across domestic, national, and regional contexts – will play a signi­fi­cant role in nurtu­ring trust or distrust in rela­tion to disaster risk.

This article will offer valuable insights by deve­lo­ping a new concep­tual frame­work that can be trans­lated and vali­dated by future research

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