GOVERNMENT DISASTER RESPONSE AND NARRATIVE RETROSPECTION: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE ELECTORAL IMPACTS IN DENMARK AND SWEDEN OF THE 2004 TSUNAMI
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This paper investigates the nexus between disaster response and voting behaviour through a comparative study of the electoral dynamics in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami in Denmark and Sweden. The paper addresses three hypotheses of retrospection: (i) blind retrospection where voters primarily take the disaster impacts into account; (ii) mediated retrospection where voters primarily take the quality of the disaster response into account; and (iii) narrative retrospection where voters primarily take the dominant political narrative of the disaster into account. The results suggest that voters did not appear to immediately punish the Danish and Swedish governments for the Tsunami despite the severe impacts and the widespread public disapproval of the governments’ disaster responses. The concept of narrative retrospection shows how there was limited pressure to politicize the government’s disaster management efforts in Denmark, while the brunt of the political blame in Sweden occurred more than a year after the Tsunami.
Tsunami, voting, retrospection, Denmark, Sweden