Representing crowd behaviour in emergency planning guidance: ‘mass panic’ or collective resilience?

Drury, John, Novelli, David and Stott, Clifford (2013) Representing crowd behaviour in emergency planning guidance: ‘mass panic’ or collective resilience? Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses, 1 (1). pp. 18-37. ISSN 2169-3293

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Abstract

Emergency planning often includes assumptions about crowd behaviour. These assumptions matter, as they can operate as rationales for emergency management practices. We examined the extent to which crowds are represented in UK emergency
planning guidance as psychologically vulnerable or as contributing to psychosocial resilience. A systematic search of 47 guidance documents identified 9 referring to ‘panic’. These were discourse analysed, along with six more guidance documents considered key to civil contingencies resilience. It was found that the references to ‘panic’ served to construct collectives (and particularly crowds) as a source of psychological vulnerability. References to collective sources of resilience in the public were mostly found to be limited and often served to marginalise the crowd as a basis of coping in emergencies. We argue that the emphasis in the current guidance on the marginal role of crowds and the indispensable role of the professionals conflicts with
aspects of current policy on community resilience.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: John Drury
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2013 11:41
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2013 11:41
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44046

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