Advances in Drama Theory for Managing Global Hazards and Disasters. Part I: Theoretical Foundation
Journal article: Advances in Drama Theory for Managing Global Hazards and Disasters. Part I: Theoretical Foundation
Jason K. Levy1 , Keith W. Hipel2 and N. Howard3
(1) L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284, USA
(2) Department of Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3G1
(3) Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, S1 1WB, UK
Abstract: Global risk and disaster management challenges are complex and ill-structured group decision processes characterized by time-sensitive, multi-faceted, and self-organizing negotiations, high decision stakes, extreme uncertainty, and dynamic, value-laden tradeoffs. Drama theory asserts that conflict resolution requires players to engage in a rational-emotional process of re-defining both the game and their “positions” in it until agreement on a satisfactory resolution is reached. While game theory has been widely applied to problems dealing with hazards, risk, and disasters, it assumes fixed players, options, and preferences, and hence does not allow for the re-definition of the conflict under consideration. Results show that drama theory constitutes a flexible and powerful tool for modeling group decision and negotiation processes involving natural, man-made, and health-related hazards, risk, and catastrophes in the post-911 security environment by modeling emotional responses that, throughout the course of a game, can lead to unanticipated reactions and change basic assumptions. This is achieved through the use of option boards to construct and analyze emergency, disaster, or crisis models that are structurally similar to game models. Finally, drama theory is compared and contrasted to conflict analysis, which developed from common roots in metagame analysis. The strengths and weaknesses of drama theory are critically evaluated in the context of global climate change and the mounting risk of a worldwide influenza pandemic.
Keywords Drama theory - Emergency - Climate change - Disaster - Conflict resolution - Decision support