Conference paper
The Case of Västmanland : Unaffiliated Volunteers Use of Private Networks to Gain Acceptance

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Author list: Kolmodin, Sphie
Publication year: 2019

Abstract

There is a growing expectation that volunteers of different kind will have a greater role in disaster management in the future compared to the past. Research shows that volunteers sometimes are regarded as a problem, they often lack relevant knowledge, education and an understanding of how crisis management work “normally is done”. However, a big part of Swedish-context based research only include emergency personnel or managers (police, military and fire brigades), or highly organized voluntary organizations that have a close connection to the official response operation such as the Red Cross and The home guard (national security forces). As a result, there´s a lack of studies using a bottom-up perspective, focusing on the narratives of unaffiliated volunteers.

Building on interviews with eleven unaffiliated volunteers that were active during the forest fire in the county of Västmanland in Sweden, the study aims to investigate how volunteers relate to the official response operation. Following a network perspective I discuss how volunteers used private networks to get approval to act and access information during the fire crisis. The analytical result show that different types of unaffiliated volunteers take on different type of tasks and that their use of private networks are highly dependent on the type of tasks being performed, distance to the official rescue service, place attachment and need of information and acceptance.


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