An historical perspective on community resilience: the case of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake

David Mendonça*, Inês Amorim, Maíra Kagohara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The study of community resilience—that is, of the ability of a community to anticipate, respond to, and recover from sudden or slow onset shocks—traces its origins to the earliest days of contemporary disaster research. In recent decades, conceptual frameworks—and precise empirical indicators—of community resilience have entered the literature for purposes of reducing disaster vulnerability at the community level. Given the long arc of research on community resilience, however, it is appropriate to address the extent to which contemporary frameworks apply beyond the particular circumstances within which they were created. To this end, this study offers a productive critique of a contemporary framework of community resilience, using data from a community impact survey conducted following the so-called Lisbon earthquake of 1755. This event, the largest earthquake in recorded European history, was the catalyst for a wide range of innovations in disaster management, yet data from the survey have yet to be explored in English-language scholarship. Through the analysis of these data, this study creates a broader historical frame around current conceptualizations of community resilience, simultaneously identifying limitations of current frameworks as well as potential sources of community resilience that lie outside the historical scope of contemporary investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-374
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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