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ABSTRACT: One of the severe global threats facing the world today is flooding. Similarly, Malaysia is faced with monsoon and flash floods which are the most severe "climate-related natural disasters" for the country. The Malaysian government is the main stakeholder and provider of aid in every stage of disaster. Consequently, the involvement of flood risk communities is said to be minimal and overlooked. Researchers have also stated that there is still a lack of research on human involvement and response. Thus, addressing these gaps, we take on a social constructionist view to situate flood disaster as a social practice and discourse to investigate how government officials 'talk' about their involvement in flood disaster mitigation and management. Our analysis is based on the perspective that their 'talk' evokes specific disaster discourses which relate to the different ways of understanding flood disaster, and that these discourses in turn shape and impact their response and action for flood mitigation and management as well as community empowerment. To this end, we adopt Van Leeuwen's representation of social actors and social action framework to identify the disaster discourses drawn upon by the officials. The findings show that government officials employ various discourses that draw on the 'traditional framework of relief and rehabilitation' and a 'top-down government centric approach' that focus less on community empowerment. We see a need for the inclusion of a 'discourse of shared responsibility' that is part of a 'proactive approach', and sees all parties as partners, and in particular, flood risk communities.
ABSTRACT: The terrorist attacks of 2001 served as a triggering event for the inception of a policy domain focused on homeland security, and with it came a body of research substantively concentrated on public policy addressing the unique challenges presented in the emerging policy domain. Since naissance, policy issues addressing homeland security have been both disparate and highly salient creating a literature that covers topics ranging from measuring vulnerability of populations to denial of service attacks on medical facilities. This article reviews the literature for a description of what Homeland Security policy is (or is not), where the research in public policy broadly defined has improved knowledge or practice, aspects of the policy domain that require development, and the challenges associated with research in this area. We find that broadly speaking, the most productive areas of inquiry in this domain are those that have the least uncertainty—those that migrated as a mature area of research, those based on objective measures, and those with identifiable origins.
ABSTRACT: This article examines terror awareness as an individualized security practice that allows civilians to respond to situations of emergent terror as they occur, that is, in real time. It is a practice that targets the “time–space” (Walters in Comp Eur Polit 15(5):794–817, 2016) just before, during, and immediately after an event of terror. In recent years, the notion of “terror awareness” has gained salience in official US homeland security discourses. To protect themselves and their communities from harm and ensure an uninterrupted “way of life,” citizens are routinely encouraged to be vigilant and aware to signs of potential terror as they attend to their daily affairs. They are asked to stay informed, remain alert, and be ready to respond to the incipiency of terror so that they may avert—or, at least mitigate—its potentially catastrophic and disruptive consequences. According to the authorities, this kind of habitualized threat awareness can help prevent acts of terror and strengthen community resilience. But what exactly do government and security officials mean when they speak of “terror awareness”? What does this practice of being “terror aware” entail? And how is it supposed to function as a protective mechanism against potential terror? What is its relationship to such abstract concepts as “security,” “preparedness,” and “resilience”? This article seeks to answer these questions. It is based on a careful reading of official and publicly available texts (press statements, policy documents, reports, training brochures, websites, etc.) about homeland security and anti-terrorism, where the notion of “awareness” finds mention and a specific understanding of it—namely as an individualized security technology—is being communicated to the wider public.
ABSTRACT: Comparing homeland security risks is a challenging example of comparative risk assessment. One methodology designed for comparing diverse risks of this sort is the Deliberative Method of Ranking Risks. Previous studies have evaluated the utility of the method in absolute terms, examining informed rankings at various stages of the process; this paper represents the first known approach to compare the method relative to another approach. As the Deliberative Method for Ranking Risks is designed to engage deliberative System 2 thought, we compared the rankings from the method to those from a nationally representative survey (RAND's American Life Panel) that engages experiential System 1 thought. We find evidence that the Deliberative Method for Ranking Risks works as intended, developing more informed rankings with less evidence of bias. The Deliberative Method for Ranking Risks can be a useful improvement for ad hoc comparisons of risk in the homeland security domain.