Articles | Volume 15, issue 2
Research article
16 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 16 Feb 2015

The calamity of eruptions, or an eruption of benefits? Mt. Bromo human–volcano system a case study of an open-risk perception

S. Bachri, J. Stötter, M. Monreal, and J. Sartohadi

Abstract. In this paper we investigate the question not of how, but why people actively choose to live with continued exposure to considerable hazard. A field survey of the human–volcano interaction at Bromo Volcano was based on semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed according to recurrent themes in the answers. Findings from field investigation were then confronted with previous existing concepts of human exposure to natural hazards. The result shows that the interaction between humans and the volcanic environment at Bromo volcano is multifaceted and complex. The Tengger people choose – rather than being forced – to live with volcanic hazards. They are not only exposed to its negative consequence, but also enjoy benefits and opportunities of physical, spiritual and socio-cultural nature that arise within the human–volcanic system. Following this perspective, the concept of risk itself must be revisited and expanded from a one-sided focus on hazardous processes to a more holistic view of risk that includes the various positive aspects that pertain to the entire system. The development of a generic human–volcanic system model could provide the basis for the development of an open-risk concept.

Short summary
This paper focuses on interactions between society and its volcanic environment at Mt. Bromo from a human–volcano-system perspective. The results show that the local population not only is exposed to negative volcanic impacts but also enjoys benefits and opportunities. Following this perspective, the concept of risk must be expanded from a pure negative connotation to a more holistic, open view of risk which addresses both potentially positive and negative aspects of the uncertain future.
Final-revised paper