From the risk culture to the local cultures of risk. An ethnographic investigation of living with a constant flood risk in the South East of France

Séverine Durand, M. Lang, F. Klijn, P. Samuels
2016 E3S Web of Conferences  
In France, flooding is the leading cause of mortality due to natural disasters and cause very significant economic damage. The question of risk forgetting has been identified as one of the key issues to reduce these negative consequences of flooding. There is need to study this oversight of risk on a long term basis, long after the event takes place and when routines are re-established. This is the challenge faced by the ethnographic dissertation summarized in this article: understanding the
more » ... hanisms of risk forgetting by investigating how the issue of flooding occurs in everyday life. The dissertation questions what circulates about flooding between inhabitants and how they organize their practices in relation to the risk. The field of study is a french suburban city which was built on wetlands and remains vulnerable to flash floods. This case study provides insight into the collective mechanisms from invisible danger implementation. The increased visibility of the protection made by local policies and the comforting effect of normative sharing provided a normalization of the trust in the protection. Through the interactions, statements are continually developed in the interests of their acceptability: statements of relativism circulate more than the ones that open on the horizon of danger. Moreover, the current development of a logic of safety for social risks reduction contradicts the prevention of flooding. Above all, neither the links between inhabitants nor the links with their living environment provide a sufficient collective development base for a risk culture deployment.
doi:10.1051/e3sconf/20160708005 fatcat:vofl6qszondobdd5xfvm2bj33m