9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN08 Disaster and Social Crisis

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Perceptions of Risk and Security Building AA, AA.226

Risk Perception, Extreme Events and Institutional Trust in Portugal

In this paper we present and discuss the results of two surveys on natural and technological risks: one at the national level (Portugal), applied to a representative sample of the Portuguese adult population; another at the local level, applied to a representative sample of adult population of Coimbra?s municipality, Centre Region of Portugal. In both cases, we focus on the identification of the sources of risk perception, the experience and evaluation of catastrophic events and situations, the role of social networks in coping with extreme events, institutional communication and trust in civil protection institutions, media coverage, neighbourhood networks and intergenerational information transference.
The main purpose is to assess populations? knowledge and trust in the institutions involved in crisis management, and the impact of risk and risk management perceptions on the construction of social vulnerability and resilience to disasters and extreme events. The data also allow the construction of indexes that measure the formation, extent and impact of community strategies for dealing with catastrophes.
The interrelation of these issues with spatial patterns and sociodemographic characteristics of the populations interviewed is discussed, as well as the methodological problems that arise from assessing risk perceptions and their implications in risk amplification at different spatial scales.