Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course examines the social and political context of disasters and the implication of socio-political and socio-cultural factors to disaster preparedness and recovery. It explores social and political issues facing both developed and developing nations, emphasising the need for the understanding and knowledge of local conditions when preparing for and recovering from disasters. Effective disaster management not only requires financial and technological resources but also involves building community resilience through adequate preparation and inclusion of all stakeholders, including community members, local government organisations and government departments. In this course, students will explore how concepts such as the state and civil society, socio-political and socio-historical reality, poverty, social capital, gender, age and ethnicity form part of disaster management and impacts on community resilience.



  • Trimester 1 - 2022


  • Trimester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Critically evaluate the socio-political context of a disaster

2. Identify and assess social and political factors that make communities vulnerable and understand the social and political issues impacting the transition from emergency to response and from response to recovery

3. Critically evaluate impact of government policy in disaster preparedness and reconstruction

4. Appreciate the socio-political issues impacting on the decision making process during post disaster situation

5. Systemically identify and compare a range of stakeholders who may receive damage or benefit from disaster mitigation and reconstruction activities, and judiciously assess the needs of different stakeholder groups in the event of a disaster

6. Critically evaluate and apply methods to empower groups of stakeholders within decision-making processes for disaster mitigation and reconstruction activities


  • Introduction to the course. Overview: a global and local perspective on disasters.
  • Understanding vulnerability and risk from a social and political perspective: developed and developing nations; poverty. Key stakeholders, interests and activities. Climate change and urbanisation.
  • Vulnerability and urbanisation; vulnerability and remoteness.
  • Understanding vulnerable groups from a social and political perspective: discussion of age, gender, social capital, ethnicity.
  • Understanding the role of the state and civil society: discussion of socio-political and socio-historical realities.
  • Resilience from a social and political perspective: stakeholder engagement; capacity building. Prevention and preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Framing disasters: social and political views, interests and activities.
  • Post disaster rebuilding: social and political considerations; immediate and long-term impact of socio-political factors.

Assessment items

Journal: Learning Journal

Report: Report

Essay: Essay

Contact hours

Callaghan and Online


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Distance learning students will receive equivalent instruction through online or other distance education strategies.


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 10 Weeks

Distance learners will engage online for 12 weeks.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.