Shifting power through participation in post-disaster recovery: a scoping review
Using a qualitative analytical approach, this paper, published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, presents an overview of the existing power imbalances, participatory activities, and their associated outcomes regarding community participation. Community participation is considered an integral part of Build Back Better (BBB) initiatives and ensuring equitable, resilient outcomes of post-disaster recovery. However, BBB-related practices, as well as recovery research, have failed to overcome the challenge of these practices reinforcing inequities that require addressing issues of power. This scoping review examines the intersection of power and participation in post-disaster recovery.
The study identifies five roles that participatory processes can play: raising critical consciousness, reflecting just power relations, developing a culture of change-making, changing relationships between actors, and providing a structure for change. The scoping review revealed a notable gap in the literature, where the explicit utilisation of power as an analytical lens is lacking, and there is an inadequate documentation of the social processes associated with participation. Correcting these gaps could generate a better understanding of the possibilities for collaborative disaster risk governance in recovery.