Post-spontaneous volunteerism

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskning

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Emergence of floods – emergence of citizen preparedness structures and emergency management
This paper studies citizenship in relation to flood risk. Particularly the paper studies how flooding initiates organisational collaboration between the citizens’ emerging preparedness structures and the emergency management authorities. The aim is to understand the possibilities for and constraints in integrating citizens and their preparedness structures in the formal emergency management organisation, particularly in the emergency phase of operations.
Based on recent experience with annual storm surges in what was believed to be a “flooding-safe” area the citizens of Jyllinge in Roskilde Municipality have developed strong civic structures for emergency preparedness. This includes political activism in relation to mitigation efforts such as the construction of dikes and emergency management planning in relation to citizen mobilisation for operational purposes.
The risk of flooding has recently occurred in this area and the authorities’ challenge of involving the citizens in in all phases of the disaster cycle calls for a thorough understanding of the relations between the emergency management authorities and the citizens in the face of climate change related risk. This is studied through qualitative interviews with key actors among citizens and authorities and following Facebook groups used for organisational and operational purposes by the citizens.
The concept “post spontaneous volunteerism” describes the phenomenon of citizens learning from the experience of spontaneous volunteering in emergency management operations and applying the experience in new, emerging civic structures aiming at mobilising, preparing and organising citizens for the participation in a particular emergency management operation in relation of the specific risk of flood.
In the face of climate change and the expectation of stronger and more frequent storms, flood events like those in Jyllinge will reiterate in the coming years, for instance it is described in the Danish National Risk Assessment that climate change will lead to more frequent situations with extremely high sea-levels (Beredskabsstyrelsen, 2017b). The role of citizens is mentioned as central both before, during and after serious incidents in the national strategy for prevention of accidents and disasters (Beredskabsstyrelsen, 2017a).
The case considered in this paper of citizens organising themselves and adapting to the operational structures of the emergency management authorities is particularly interesting since this opens for the possibility to train, guide and deploy the citizens in a structured and targeted emergency management operation.

Beredskabsstyrelsen. (2017a). National forebyggelsesstrategi 2017. Beredskabsstyrelsen. Retrieved from
Beredskabsstyrelsen. (2017b, January). Nationalt Risikobillede 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2017, from

Publikationsdato23 mar. 2018
StatusUdgivet - 23 mar. 2018
BegivenhedNEEDS 2018: The Third Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies, March 21-23 - Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Holland
Varighed: 21 mar. 201823 mar. 2018


KonferenceNEEDS 2018
LokationVrije Universiteit


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