Coping with blackouts. A practice theory approach to household preparedness


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Series/Report no

Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management;Volume 26, Issue 2



Document type


This article focuses on how rural households cope with blackouts caused by winter storms. We approach the concept of household preparedness using a practice theory perspective, and argue that household preparedness is mundanely preformed as part of already existing everyday practices. Thus, this is a retrospective study of how household preparedness was performed in actual crises. The data material consists of at home interviews with 14 households and 26 interviewees from Norway and Sweden. The results demonstrate that households cope with blackouts by activating and mobilising competences, meanings and materials belonging to different practices, and that they do so in an interwoven ongoing process that ensures continuation of everyday life during disruption. The article concludes by arguing for the need to bring forward studies on informal preparedness activities, in a research field where household preparedness tends to be framed using a top-down and formalized perspective on crisis preparedness and management.




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