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Rethinking the interplay between affluence and vulnerability to aid climate change adaptive capacity

: Eriksen, Christine; Simon, Gregory L.; Roth, Florian; Lakhina, Shefali Juneja; Wisner, Ben; Adler, Carolina; Thomalla, Frank; Scolobig, Anna; Brady, Kate; Bründl, Michael; Neisser, Florian; Grenfell, Maree; Maduz, Linda; Prior, Timothy

Fulltext ()

Climatic change 162 (2020), No.1, pp.25-39
ISSN: 0165-0009
ISSN: 1573-1480
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer INT ()
Fraunhofer ISI ()
climate change adaptation; disaster resilience; Natural Hazards; psychosocial coping capacity; social vulnerability

Affluence and vulnerability are often seen as opposite sides of a coin—with affluence generally understood as reducing forms of vulnerability through increased resilience and adaptive capacity. However, in the context of climate change and an increase in associated hazards and disasters, we suggest the need to re-examine this dynamic relationship—a complex association we define here as the Affluence–Vulnerability Interface (AVI). We review research in different national contexts to show how a more nuanced understanding of the AVI can (a) problematize the notion that increasing material affluence necessarily has a mitigating influence on social vulnerability, (b) extend our analysis of social vulnerability beyond low-income regions to include affluent contexts and (c) improve our understanding of how psychosocial characteristics influence people’s vulnerability. Finally, we briefly outline three methodological approaches that we believe will assist future engagement with the AVI.