Vulnerability of what?
Vulnerability can only be described meaningfully if it refers to a specific vulnerable situation, place or system. Depending on the research domain, the focus of analysis and the underlying theoretical framework the term vulnerability refers to sytems, specific functions and sectors of a system or (social) groups which are exposed to or threatened by a certain hazard. The taxonomy of this wiki distinguishes between:
- natural systems which encompass:
- biological systems
- physical systems
- biophysical systems
- social systems which refer to:
- functional systems/sectors like economy, financial systems, agriculture & forestry or industry etc.
- organisational systems like commercial enterprises or local authorities
- and social groups which can be defined according to their level and scale of interaction (e.g. communities, households) as well as according to shared socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. elderly, women)
- technical systems which include infrastructure and lifelines.
Additionally interactions between systems are considered since often disturbances and stressors affect more than one system or element of the system or they are a priori conceptualized as coupled human-environment systems (Turner II et al. 2003). Thus the ontology asks for interactions within systems (intra-system interaction) and interactions between natural, social and technical system (inter-system interaction).