Title: In search of an Italian risk culture: prevalent approaches towards disasters among experts, survivors and people at risk of natural and industrial hazards

Authors: Alessio Cornia

Addresses: Department of Political Science, University of Perugia, Via Elce di Sotto, s.n.c., 06123, Perugia, Italy

Abstract: The article analyses the risk cultures emerging from interviews and focus groups conducted in Italy with crisis management experts and individuals who live in at-risk areas or have had previous disasters experiences. Results show that the prevalent approach toward risk and disasters is characterised by: the belief that crisis situations have to be managed by public institutions, a marginal role for citizens' self-reliance, a fatalistic approach and low risk awareness. Fatalism, the belief that disasters are caused by external forces and that nothing can be done to prevent them, is interpreted as the result of the difficult combination of two conflicting tendencies: citizens' strong dependence on public institutions for risk and crisis management and low trust in public authorities efficacy in dealing with disasters.

Keywords: risk culture; risk communication; crisis communication; fatalism; risk perception; Italy; natural disasters; industrial hazards; risk management; emergency management; emergency communication; crisis management; public institutions; trust.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRAM.2015.069017

International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 2015 Vol.18 No.2, pp.125 - 139

Received: 18 Oct 2013
Accepted: 12 Oct 2014

Published online: 24 Apr 2015 *

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