Disruption, Social Capital and Resilience

The overall aim of the project is to examine how disruptive action aimed at doing harm and create fear influence the social capital and resilience of societies. The consequences of the terrorist attack on the 22nd of July 2011 are at the core of the project, but great emphasis is also placed on comparing experiences and consequences of disruptive events in different countries, more specifically in the US, Spain, France and Finland.

Deliberate and malicious disruptive actions such as terror can affect stocks of social capital. These effects play out differently in the short and long term and vary between contexts. Such disruptive action may enhance a sense of risk, worry and increased awareness and lead to political consequences such as decreased out group trust and political polarization.

By comparing five different societies, with different historical backgrounds and different experiences with terrorism, the project seeks to shed light on which factors are of importance in shaping societal reactions to disruptive events. If an enhanced sense of fear and awareness persists over time after a terrorist attack, this may influence social capital in society, in other words, networks and norms of collaboration. At the same time, the prevalence of social capital in a population can strengthen a society’s resilience, for example by curbing fear and improving conditions for mass mobilizations in the aftermath of shocks.