University of Sussex
Tekin, Selin.pdf (2.69 MB)

A social psychological perspective on post-disaster campaigns for justice: strategies in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire

Download (2.69 MB)
posted on 2023-06-10, 02:45 authored by Selin Tekin Guven
Previous research has shown that people help each other with different types of needs when there is a disaster or emergency. Moreover, it was also evidenced that rebuilding and restoring the community become successful and sustainable when there is an active participation of community members during the recovery process. However, research on previous disasters also reported that the support doesn’t only come from the community members. Sometimes, allies from different communities come together with the survivors and bereaved families to meet various types of needs. This thesis examined the justice seeking processes of campaigners who supported survivors and bereaved families in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. The overall aim of the research was to understand how justice campaigns arise after the disaster and why the people who are not primarily affected by the disaster also support those campaigns. Specifically, I intend to achieve a better understanding about how post-disaster campaigns succeed or fail. I asked: 1) How do local and wider community members share a social identity and engage in post-disaster justice campaigns in order to empower the disaster community and their actions? 2) How is street mobilisation used as a strategy to seek justice in the aftermath? 3) How does racism and victim blaming delegitimize the identities of victims and their justice seeking actions? In my first study, thematic analysis of interviews with 15 campaigners helped me to understand that reaching out to allies and building shared social identity among supporters were two main ways to achieve campaign goals. In the second study, using ethnography as a framework and thematic analysis of 15 more interviews helped me to understand that people don’t just become groups; they also strategically take collective actions to constitute themselves as a group and try to overcome injustice. In my third study, using a critical discursive psychological approach to analyse 416 hostile tweets which attacked victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire delegitimize them and their demands for justice. Throughout the thesis I argue that achieving campaign goals and empowerment of actions are possible when the support is mobilized from beyond the immediate community. Therefore, organizing campaign events strategically in an inclusive way can contribute to this empowerment. Lastly, even though support from other (wider) communities can be more salient, victim blaming might also happen by individuals from other communities. Moreover, this victim blaming often takes the form of racist attacks. Therefore, even though working class and ethnic minority groups experience disasters disproportionately, they might also face with racist way of victim blaming in the aftermath of a disaster.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected