Research Project No.11: Professor Bob White FRS and Revd Dr Roger Abbott
Project title: ‘Life in the pressure-cooker: a pathway to developing beautiful minds?’
The overall aim of this research sub-project is to examine the ways in which faith groups contribute to constructive thinking, generosity and thanksgiving out of the maelstrom of disaster.
The need exists for a project of this kind due to the lack of understanding and knowledge on the role that localized religious beliefs and faith communities play within the context of disaster recovery and disaster risk reduction. Faith and religious communities have often been ignored in disaster studies, and religious responses have often been considered ‘backwards’ and lacking in ‘modernity’.
Furthermore, studies that have incorporated religion have often adopted a generic understanding of religion, which lacks consideration for the contextualized and experienced paradigms of religion.
The proposed research will focus on achieving three main objectives: (1) using mixed method approaches to examine the impact of contextually specific religious beliefs on disaster response, recovery and risk reduction initiatives over a longitudinal period; (2) explore how Christian beliefs and practices contribute to, or hamper, the capacity of disaster-impacted populations to respond, recover and adapt; and (3) investigate how Christian beliefs and practices contribute to and/or hinder character development and post-traumatic growth after disasters, particularly over time.