The importance of religion in shaping volcanic risk perception in Italy, with special reference to Vesuvius and Etna
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractWith the exception of societies that are relatively untouched by modernism, the academic consensus holds that since the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment popular perception of divine responsibility for disasters has been progressively replaced by a perspective that views losses as resulting from the effects of extreme natural events upon vulnerable human populations. Nature is considered to be de-moralised. By means of examples of volcanic eruptions that have occurred over the past one hundred and fifty years and which transcend place, culture and faith tradition, the present authors have maintained a contrasting position, by arguing that religious perspectives are still important features of the ways in which people in many societies perceive volcanic eruptions. In the present paper it is argued that religious terms of reference have been and remain vital elements in the perceptions held by a significant proportion of the population in southern Italy when confronted by volcanic eruptions, particularly those that have occurred on Vesuvius and Etna. Within the context of what is termed popular Catholicism, the development of distinctive religious responses in pre-industrial times is first described.
CitationChester, D.K., Duncan, A.M. & Dibben, C.J.L. (2008) 'The importance of religion in shaping volcanic risk perception in Italy, with special reference to Vesuvius and Etna', Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 172(3-4),pp.216-228