Managing Volcanic Hazards
: An Actor-Network of Technology and Communication

  • Daniel Beech

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The scientific and socio-political dimensions of volcanic hazards have been realigned since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, and have highlighted the need for volcanic activity to be studied from interdisciplinary perspectives. By focussing on communication, adaptability and resilience, this research explains the links between hazard management and social constructivism. The research question asks how Iceland’s networked approach to managing volcanoes can be understood by analysing the development of communication channels between human stakeholders and non-human technical devices and systems. Fieldwork was conducted in both Iceland and the UK, and a mixed methods approach was used to engage with the network. Research methods consisted of semi-structured interviews, participant observations and archival research.

Findings explain the evolution of knowledge exchange, the value of technical innovation, and the need for interactions between local, national and international stakeholders. The study concludes that actors are increasingly empowered by the use of participatory technologies within hazard management, and the development of collaborative engagements between stakeholder communities from scientific and socio-political backgrounds. This research is relevant as it illustrates how the adaptive capacity of hazard networks can be expanded, potentially influencing the approaches that are taken to manage volcanic hazards in less economically developed contexts. In addition, this study can encourage continued interaction between scientists, at-risk communities and the aviation industry in multi-hazard environments such as Iceland.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorRhys Dafydd Jones (Supervisor) & Michael Woods (Supervisor)


  • actor-network
  • communication
  • co-production
  • information
  • resilience
  • translation

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