TABLE 5.3 Communication to Build Resilience: What and How

Communication Strategy Strategy Implementation
Construct narratives that promote resilience

• Frame communities as problem solvers, individuals as capable responders

• Construct narratives that reinforce social bonds, helping, and cooperation

• Maintain social ineinory of disasters

Use evidence-based strategies for communication and public education

• Ground strategies in communities

• Communicate risk

• Test and evaluate efforts

Leverage social aspects of communication to strengthen ties and involve community

• Promote social interaction

• Improve community use of social media networks

• Improve quality, value, and trust in crowd-sourced information

Strengthen communication networks to ensure access to information

• Create multipronged, interconnected communication networks

• Ensure equity m access to information

Construct Narratives that Promote Resilience

Increasing national resilience will require more than just improving communication structures and processes. To create a culture of resilience, public education and communication are important to help shift the way that Americans perceive themselves in relation to disasters and ensure that the lessons learned from our history with disasters stay active in the public’s consciousness.

Communal narratives give shared experiences meaning and purpose and they demonstrate how a community sees itself and others (Alkon, 2004). By defining a group’s identity and experiences and giving reason to its actions, such narratives can shape how they adapt to and recover from adversity, and thereby serve as important resources to foster resilience (Norris et al., 2008). For example, oppressed groups’ positive constructions of themselves allowed them to adapt to and survive adversity (Sonn and Fisher, 1998). The extent to which communities and individuals frame themselves as capable, connected, adaptable, and self-sufficient—rather than dependent, victimized, or helpless— will affect their decision making, their actions, and their ability to cope in the face of crisis (see Box 5.3)

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