An ethical approach to socio-economic information sources in ongoing vulnerability and resilience studies: the Mount Cameroon case

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Maria Ilaria Pannaccione Apa
Emmanuel Kouokam
Robert Mbe Akoko
Celestin Nana
Maria Fabrizia Buongiorno


The study of the vulnerability of facing natural and man-made hazards, with the related resilient answers belong to the complex and articulate field of social sciences called ‘Disaster Anthropology’. Vulnerability is generally defined as a weak point in facing an aggressive event that is difficult to manage. Resilience is the subsequent capacity for self-repair after a sustained natural or anthropogenic stress. Consequently, the theoretical model of economic resilience is the ability to restore an economic background that can support the gradual recovery of social benefits following a disaster. Moreover, the presence in the territory of different systems of production (natural eco-systems and/or technical systems) should allow multi-resilient communities. The mathematical structure of these economic theorems makes their practical application difficult inside an ethno-anthropological context, as it conflicts with cultural variables of the socio-structural fabric. An example can be given by some urban and rural family structures that are settled around the Mount Cameroon volcano (southwest Cameroon), in which the general psychological pressure increases because of both the constant exposure to natural hazards and the vulnerability arising from its social environment (e.g. castes, forced housing allocation, cultural estrangement to local chiefdom). Therefore, the rational heuristic model to be adopted in this social vulnerability study is performed by several combined analyses that have many interpretive obstacles. In 2009, within FP7-MIA-VITA, the first fieldwork mission for the study of socio-economic development of communities living around Mount Cameroon was launched. This completed 108 interviews across several social groups of different ethnicities and religions. The resulting information is being re-tested and verified from the second fieldwork mission in 2011, for completion of the study area.

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Pannaccione Apa MI, Kouokam E, Akoko RM, Nana C, Buongiorno MF. An ethical approach to socio-economic information sources in ongoing vulnerability and resilience studies: the Mount Cameroon case. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2012Jul.10 [cited 2022Jun.26];55(3). Available from:
Author Biography

Maria Ilaria Pannaccione Apa, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome

CNT (Centro Nazionale terremoti) - Remote Sensing Group

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