Vulnerability, Authority and Victimization: Survivors Earthquake

Vulnerability, Authority and Victimization: Survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake

Kieran G. Mundy, Tokiwa International Victimology Institute


The origins of a natural disaster are deeply embedded in the everyday social, economic, and cultural lives of its survivors. Imbalances in political power and authority in this context create the conditions for a small minority of people to be victimized more than the resilient majority. The first part of the article is devoted to revisiting theories of vulnerability and victimization and developing a heuristic framework in which to
examine vulnerability, victims and victimization in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. These processes are clarified using Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital and the theoretical framework of psycho/social coping advanced by Dussich to expose the social, cultural, and economic fault lines in the earthquake and tsunami affected areas following the Great East Japan Earthquake. In the second part of the article, a dynamic typology of potential hidden, chronic, and transient natural disaster victims is introduced. Vulnerability to victimization by natural disaster is presented as a dynamic construct dependent on the level of availability of resources. In the third part, a victimizing force (Vforce) driving vulnerability to victimization is proposed. Empirical verification of this construct as well as the theoretical framework of this article may make the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake and similar critical environmental incidents in the future more understandable and predictable.


Vol 6, No 2 / March 2012     •     See Terms and Conditions for educational use.

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