The vulnerable can't speak. An integrative vulnerability approach to disaster and climate change research

Martin Voss


This article discusses a vulnerability approach to disaster research and research on climate change adaptation.
As an integrated approach, it claims to consider social, economic and ecological factors. A hypothesis is debated in which the vulnerability of a reference unit (humans, community, ecosystem, etc.) is highly dependent on the degree of influence the unit can exert on its relevant conditions for subsistence. The ability to influence theses conditions depends, to a large extent, on discursive factors. To emphasise this special determinant of vulnerability, the term “participative capacity” is proposed.