Disaster Studies: The Consequences of the Historical Use of a Sociological Approach in the Development of Research

Quarantelli, E. L.
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An earlier article discussing the initial days of disaster studies noted that the roots of the area in the applied concerns of research funders led to a pattern of how research was done and what was studied that still prevails today. However, this paper stresses that a certain sociological orientation and particular sociological ideas implicitly came to permeate much of the early work and many of the observations and findings made. We also indicate that the research approach, initiated with a mixture of applied concerns and basic sociological questions, has had up to now primarily functional consequences on the development of the field of study of disasters. But the paper concludes with a statement that the field currently needs a fundamental reconceptualization of disaster. It is argued that the impetus for that is more likely to come out of a questioning of basic ideas as well as the growing internationalization of disaster studies than from practical concerns.
Sociology , Disaster Research , Theory