Household Risk Perception and Vulnerability to Floods in Urban Contexts in Monterrey, Mexico

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
The paper discusses the convenience of taking into account diverse stages of the domestic cycle approach to observe and analyze differences in the social vulnerability to floods, as well as to explain aspects of place attachment connected to decisions of settlement, relocation in non-flood-prone areas and re-settlement in flood-prone areas. This approach incorporates the idea of the household as a dynamic unit that changes over time – going through (nonlinear, not discrete) stages of expansion, consolidation, and dispersion. Resulting household changes in terms of their resources and of their access to structural opportunities to deal with with hazardous events such as floods are of particular interest. Through ethnographic work in Monterrey, Mexico, I examine points of view of directly impacted people, still living in flood-prone areas, around those decisions. I carry this out by focusing on their subjective risk perception, meanings and own framing of their everyday exposure to risks, recurrent waterlogging and flood experiences. The study of household vulnerability to floods points out to the understanding of differences in the social vulnerability to floods by looking at the differential impact of hydro meteorological events in the vulnerability of affected domestic units, their livelihood changes and life trajectory changes. Furthermore, it intends to distinguish household’s short-term and long-term practices regarding emergency management, hazard risk reduction measures and settlement decisions. With this, I try out the suitability of the domestic cycle approach as research strategy for the study of social vulnerability to floods in socio-spatial segregated urban contexts such as Monterrey, taking a step towards the introduction into disaster risk research of an approach that has been otherwise used in social anthropology studies on livelihoods and poverty dynamics (cf. González de la Rocha et al.), which are in turn in several ways linked to life course sociology (Elder, Johnson & Crosnoe).