Under What Conditions Does an Extreme Event Deploy its Focal Power?: Toward Collaborative Governance in Swiss Flood Risk Management

Ingold, Karin; Gavilano, Alexandra (2020). Under What Conditions Does an Extreme Event Deploy its Focal Power?: Toward Collaborative Governance in Swiss Flood Risk Management. In: Bynander, Fredrik; Nohrstedt, Daniel (eds.) Collaborative Crisis Management – Inter-Organizational Approaches to Extreme Events (pp. 132-147). New York: Routledge 10.4324/9780429244308

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In this chapter, we investigate paradigm shifts in the collaborative approaches one nation state, namely Switzerland, has chosen to manage and regulate natural disasters. More concretely, we look at one century of flood risk management in Switzerland and identify major changes in policies, actor arrangements, and institutions. We then explore if there are any connections from those paradigm shifts to major flood events or dynamics in the policy subsystem. We also examine what conditions transform a disaster or a shock into a focusing event that can induce a paradigm shift. We adopt a very broad temporal perspective (one century) and look at longer shadow crises in an attempt to better understand the long-term effects (on policy, politics and institutions) that a natural disaster can deploy. In our study, we include responses to disasters and collaborative arrangements at the country/ national level, and we consider flood events that had a regional (affecting multiple cantons), in contrast to those that had just a local impact. We are open paradigm shifts and collaborative arrangements introduced by private actors, outsourcing, and privatized solutions, but we acknowledge that our main focus lies on the laws and regulations introduced by the national government and its related agencies. Our results indicate that different flood events have different effects on the amount of policy change and that cross-sectoral dynamics (e.g. in forest or water quality management) also have a considerable impact on the framing of new policy solutions in flood risk management.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Ingold, Karin Mirjam, Gavilano, Alexandra


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Jack Kessel Baker

Date Deposited:

13 May 2020 08:41

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:38

Publisher DOI:




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