The Protection of Cultural Properties: The Neglected Social Science Perspective and Other Questions and Issues That Ought To Be Considered

Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
The primary intent of this paper is to present a different perspective, which has been mostly neglected up to the present time, on the protection of the cultural heritage. Our reference is to the general findings from the ever expanding social science studies of disasters, which could improve the planning for and the managing of disaster-related aspects of cultural properties. After a selective introduction to and a history of the attention given to protecting the cultural heritage from various threats, we note in the passing the limitations of the current dominant technical approach to the problem. After that, the bulk of the paper discusses the social science perspective on disasters, and from that advances a dozen themes or general observations derivable from research findings developed over the last half century. At the same time we note how these might be applied to problems associated with protecting cultural properties especially from natural and technological disasters. Our paper concludes with an examination of three general questions that need to be dealt with by anyone interested in disaster aspects of the cultural heritage.
cultural protection , cultural heritage , social science studies ,