Avoiding conflicts by revisiting historical experience? Flood marks and their use for disaster memory past and present

Rohr, Christian (8 June 2018). Avoiding conflicts by revisiting historical experience? Flood marks and their use for disaster memory past and present (Unpublished). In: Learning from the past for the management of present and future water-related conflicts: Dealing with floods and flood risk in historical Alpine societies. Breitenwang (Tirol). 04.-06.06.2018.

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In historical societies in Central Europa, flood awareness and flood management was mostly based on local knowledge, on adaptation concerning the settling places, and on disaster memory. As the German cultural historian Arno Borst has been arguing already in 1981 that this memory culture has mostly vanished today and has been followed by a “culture of banished memory” (“Verdrängungskultur”). Flood marks constitute one of the most visible types of flood memory until today. This information on a specific flood event could be just a simple line with the corresponding year, but also a marble tablet with a short description of the events. They were fixed on public buildings, town gates or houses prone to the river and constituted a permanent warning to take care. The building techniques and the use of the endangered houses were in many cases adapted to the flood risk. After the large-size river regulations in the second half of the 19th century, however, people became more incautious concerning the flood risk, because small and medium-size floods were not threatening any longer. Major, destructive floods were too rare to keep up a culture of flood memory. Finally, also more and more flood marks vanished and were in some cases even banished on purpose, e.g. because houses with flood marks might lose value for resale. This paper will highlight, why learning from the past and reintroducing a culture of flood memory will also help dealing with conflicts over water and flood management today and in the future.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History

UniBE Contributor:

Rohr, Christian

Subjects:

900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe

Language:

English

Submitter:

Christian Rohr

Date Deposited:

18 Jun 2018 17:12

Last Modified:

18 Jun 2018 17:12

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Historische Hydrologie, Hochwassermarken, Gedächtniskultur, Naturkatastrophen

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/117280

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