Extraordinary communities - growth and mobilisation in crisis or catastrophe

Project owner

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Project period

February 2016 - February 2020

Project summary

The project deals with sudden unexpected big accidents or situations where the needs and distress by far exceeds the available resources. When catastrophes occur, images of helplessness, chaos and despair surface. Dependants on the nature of the actual disaster - appropriate public responses are implemented on the assumptions that chaos calls for order and helplessness for professional emergency help (medical and psychiatric). This form of disaster preparedness (katastrofeberedskap) is often an attempt at being prepared for the unexpected - and this puts society's resources under pressure and at trial. Sometimes, the resources among those affected (victims and civil society) are mobilised in creative, effective and unexpected ways – sometimes in cooperation with the authorities and sometimes in contrast or conflict. Main research questions: What happens when catastrophes/disasters hit us? Do solidary extraordinary communities arise? If so, how, why and what can be learned from the phenomenon?