Processes of policy mobility in the governance of volcanic risk

Sinclair, Graeme and Gilbert, Jennie and Clark, Nigel (2019) Processes of policy mobility in the governance of volcanic risk. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract —National and regional governments are responsible for the development of public policy for volcanic risk reduction (VRR) within their territories. However, practices vary significantly between jurisdictions. A priority of the international volcanological community is the identification and promotion of improved VRR through collaborative knowledge exchange. This project investigates the role of knowledge exchange in the development of VRR. The theories and methods of policy mobility studies are used to identify and explore how, why, where and with what effects international exchanges of knowledge have shaped this area of public policy. Analyses have been performed through the construction of narrative histories. This project details the development of social apparatus for VRR worldwide, depicted as a global policy field on three levels - the global (macro) level; the national (meso) level; and at individual volcanoes (the micro level). The narratives track the transition from a historical absence of VRR policy through the global proliferation of a reactive 'emergency management' approach, to the emergence of an alternative based on long-term planning and community empowerment that has circulated at the macro level, but struggled to translate into practice. This is explored using five case volcanoes: Merapi, Indonesia; Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia; Mount Rainier, USA; Popocatépetl and Volcán de Colima, México. These cases demonstrate that policymakers at active volcanoes do not always deliberately access knowledge curated at the 'core' of the global policy field and use it to rationally develop 'best practice' VRR policies. More frequently, the transient topologies that carry knowledge between volcanoes, the assemblages of mobile knowledge with evolving local politics, culture and volcanic activity, and resulting mutations have produced unique and unpredictable results at each volcano. Mobile policies may encounter local resistance, ideas may go unused for decades and evolution over time does not automatically entail 'progression' towards an ideal. This work carries lessons for those seeking 'improved' VRR through knowledge exchange, including the development of the policy field across time and strata; current understanding of 'best practices' in VRR; challenges encountered when mobilising VRR policy into different volcanic settings; and examples of efforts to overcome those challenges. Keywords — Volcanic Risk Governance, Policy Mobility Studies, Applied Volcanology, Critical Policy Studies, Disaster Risk Reduction, Volcán de Colima, Gunung Merapi, Nevado del Ruiz, Mount Rainier, Popocatépetl

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Thesis (PhD)
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06 Dec 2019 16:20
Last Modified:
21 Feb 2024 00:21