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Disasters: A Sociological Approach

Kathleen Tierney

ISBN: 978-1-509-53569-9 May 2019 Polity 224 Pages

Description

Disasters kill, maim, and generate increasingly large economic losses. But they do not wreak their damage equally across populations, and every disaster has social dimensions at its very core. This important book sheds light on the social conditions and on the global, national, and local processes that produce disasters.

Topics covered include the social roots of disaster vulnerability, exposure to natural hazards such as hurricanes and tsunamis as a form of environmental injustice, and emerging threats. Written by a leading expert in the field, this book provides the necessary frameworks for understanding hazards and disasters, exploring the contributions of very different social science fields to disaster research and showing how these ideas have evolved over time. Bringing the social aspects of recent devastating disasters to the forefront, Tierney discusses the challenges of conducting research in the aftermath of disasters and critiques the concept of disaster resilience, which has come to be seen as a key to disaster risk reduction.

Peppered with case studies, research examples, and insights from very different disciplines, this rich introduction is an invaluable resource to students and scholars interested in the social nature of disasters and their relation to broader social forces.

  • Detailed Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1: The Social Significance of Disasters
  • Chapter 2: Disaster Research in Historical Context: Early Insights and Recent Trends
  • Chapter 3: Sociological Research on Disasters: Key Contributions from Other Disciplines
  • Chapter 4: Theoretical Approaches and Perspectives in the Study of Hazards and Disasters
  • Chapter 5: Confronting Disaster Research Challenges
  • Chapter 6: Disaster Vulnerability
  • Chapter 7: Disaster Resilience: Concepts, Measures, and Critiques
  • Chapter 8: What the Future Holds: Greater Risks and Impacts or Greater Coping Capacity?
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

“If there ever were a time to review the evidence on how societies not only deal with disasters but contribute to them, now is that time. And Disasters: A Sociological Approach is that book. Full of insights from one of the leading disaster thinkers of our time, it will serve as a valuable resource to scholars, policymakers, and students for years to come.”
James R. Elliott, Rice University

“Kathleen Tierney provides an incisive sociological scrutiny of the meaning and significance of disasters, bringing clarity through conceptual analyses and empirical examples. Although firmly grounded in sociology, she acknowledges the contribution to disaster studies of a selection of disciplines that offer both new and experienced researchers a broad base of sources, ideas, and examples. She presents a compelling argument throughout that fatally undermines the notion of a 'natural' disaster.”
Maureen Fordham, University College London