Social Construction of Technology As a Perspective Explaining Stability in Flood Risk Management in Poland.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:03
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jakub LEWANDOWSKI, 1) Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland, and 2) Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland
Floods cause biggest losses among all natural disasters in Poland (Biedroń 2012). Two river floods of 1997 and 2010 created losses of 3 bln euro each (Choryński 2012). In coping with floods, the rapid increase of river water is conceptualized mainly as external, physically driven phenomenon (Kundzewicz 2011). Dealing with floods means for professionals to “keep water out” and the hydro-technical measures are promising tool for it. Simultaneously, hydro-technical approach is increasingly contested as ineffective in terms of flood management and as harmful for the environment (Żelaziński 2007)

At the same time, both academics and practitioners stress that flood risk management need to be more holistically and proactively managed (Driessen 2013) and that vulnerability approach should be taken into account with the same attention (Birkmann 2013). Different solutions are thus provided. In order to decrease future flood losses there is an emphasis put on improving insurance system and on using spatial planning more effectively (Jabareen 2013).

We claim the social constructivism perspective can contribute to the paradigm shift. Thus, the aim of this reserach is to analyze flood risk management in Poland throughout a period of 25 years from the social construction of technology perspective (SCOT). We argue that technological frames of reference that strategists, technicians and users have about embankments, reservoirs, crisis communication systems, meteorological warning, flood maps, drainage and irrigation infrastructures can explain (lack of) dynamics in flood management in Poland.

Through the 3 domains of SCOT (Orlikowski 1994, i.e.the nature of technology, technology strategy and technology in use)  the following research questions will be answered: To what degree the process of framing technology:

a) Differs according to the group that actor belongs to?;

b) Has changed over time since communism collapse in 1989?;

c) To what degree it have influenced legal acts, programmes and projects conducted?