Risk, safety and flooding

Controlling the risk of flooding through technology and social institutions wraps the natural environment in an ever more complex technical system. Responsibilities and proprietary relationships relating to the technical protection system are brought to a head when they fail to function as intended. The division of responsibility between nature itself, technology and the government is controversial. The balance struck between risk and the cost of safety also depends on cultural factors and the period concerned. But “post-modern” responses such as giving free reign to flooding will also increase the risk. After all, uncontrolled floods are those which have historically posed the biggest threat to people. That in turn has been the background for the struggles to gain control over the often unpredictable spread and retreat of floodwaters.

More information contact:
Eva Jakobsson
Department of Cultural Studies and Languages, University of Stavanger
E-mail: eva.jakobsson@uis.no