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Shock events and flood risk management: a media analysis of the institutional long-term effects of flood events in the Netherlands and Poland

Maria Kaufmann, Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Jakub Lewandowski, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Adam Choryński, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Mark Wiering, Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08764-210451

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Abstract

Flood events that have proven to create shock waves in society, which we will call shock events, can open windows of opportunity that allow different actor groups to introduce new ideas. Shock events, however, can also strengthen the status quo. We will take flood events as our object of study. Whereas others focus mainly on the immediate impact and disaster management, we will focus on the long-term impact on and resilience of flood risk governance arrangements. Over the last 25 years, both the Netherlands and Poland have suffered several flood-related events. These triggered strategic and institutional changes, but to different degrees. In a comparative analysis these endogenous processes, i.e., the importance of framing of the flood event, its exploitation by different actor groups, and the extent to which arrangements are actually changing, are examined. In line with previous research, our analysis revealed that shock events test the capacity to resist and bounce back and provide opportunities for adapting and learning. They “open up” institutional arrangements and make them more susceptible to change, increasing the opportunity for adaptation. In this way they can facilitate a shift toward different degrees of resilience, i.e., by adjusting the current strategic approach or by moving toward another strategic approach. The direction of change is influenced by the actors and the frames they introduce, and their ability to increase the resonance of the frame. The persistence of change seems to be influenced by the evolution of the initial management approach, the availability of resources, or the willingness to allocate resources.

Key words

flood risk management; framing; institutional change; the Netherlands; resilience; Poland; shock event

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087