Abstract

A formal group decision and negotiation framework known as Drama Theory II(DT II) is put forth in order to systematically model environmental disasters and to examine ways to improve the resilience of Louisiana's indigenous Gulf Coast tribes that have lived on the bayous of the Mississippi delta for centuries. A mathematical treatment of key drama theoretic concepts (i.e. positions, intentions, doubts, and dilemmas) is provided, the dynamics of the drama theoretic process are discussed and theoretical results are applied to the ongoing oil spill disaster in the US Gulf Coast. While game theoretic tools have been widely applied to disaster management issues, traditional decision analysis assumes that decision-makers, options, and preferences are fixed. On the other hand, DT II, a theory of mutual interactive game design, allows for the redefinition of the conflict and emphasizes that decision-makers engage in a rational-emotional process of redefining both the game and their ‘positions’ in it until agreement on a satisfactory resolution is reached. Results show that drama theory constitutes an adaptive and powerful tool for modelling the Gulf Coast oil spill and for helping to strengthen the resilience of Louisiana's Gulf tribes which are on the brink of disaster. By identifying transformative natural resources policy options, it is shown how environmental health risks can be reduced and a more sustainable future can be promoted.

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