Leong, Ching (2018, March). The role of narratives in socio-hydrological models of flood behaviors. Water Resources Research, 54, 3100-3121. (doi: 10.1002/2017WR022036) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1002/2017WR022036) (Open Access: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/2017WR022036)

Abstract: While current efforts to model sociohydrologic phenomena provide crucial insight, critics argue that these do not fully reflect the complexity one observes empirically in the real world. The policy sciences, with its focus on the interaction between human agency and the institutions that constrain public choice, can complement such efforts by providing a narrative approach. This paper demonstrates this complementarity by investigating the idea of resilience in a community response to floods. Using the quantitative Q methodology, we trace the dynamics of a common sociohydrologic hypothesis––the "memory effect" and how it decreases vulnerability and, more crucially, the instances when such memory effects do not obtain. Our analysis of a floodprone maladaptive community in Assam, India, finds four distinct narrative types: the Hardened Preparer, the Engineer, Discontent, and the Pessimist. This paper put forward an explicitly sociohydrological conception of resilience which takes into account the role of sociological indicators such as narrative types and perceptions. Such contextual understandings and narrative types can form the basis of generic resilience indicators which complement the anticipated outcomes of sociohydrologic models generally.

Ching Leong <ching@nus.edu.sg> is in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

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