ISSN: 1659-2751

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Reflections on Social Vulnerability

Abstract

The use of the concept of social vulnerability has increased in recent decades. This documents attempts to discuss about its meaning as well as conceptual frameworks and methodologies that have been used to study it. Some suggestions are made related to the information that should be gathered to assess social vulnerability. There have been valuable contributions to conceptual frameworks and methodologies. One weakness is that most studies focus on crisis and catastrophes. However, there is no attempt to assess social vulnerability in absence of catastrophes. In some cases even without catastrophes social vulnerability may lead a group of people to dead. Another weakness in current methodologies is that they are mainly focus on quantitative methods ignoring benefits of qualitative methods. It is suggested to collect information taking into account individuals, communities, and larger political units until the national level is reached. It is difficult to create a perfect guide of questions. This guide of questions should be adjusted to the context and reality of a particular place to be studied. It is suggested to combine quantitative and qualitative methods to take advantage of both approaches.

Key words: catastrophes, disasters, methodology, social vulnerability.

Artículo en español (pdf) (95)