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- ItemConventional Beliefs and Counterintuitive Realities(The New School for Social Research, 2008) Quarantelli, E. L.This paper discusses major myths and widely held incorrect beliefs about individual and group behaviors in disaster contexts. Why can we categorize such views as invalid? Because now there has been more than half a century of systematic social science studies (and an earlier half century of less well known scattered works) that have established the actual parameters of the behavior of individuals and groups in natural and technological disaster situations (for recent summaries of the extensive research literature, see Lindell, Perry, and Prater, 2006; National Research Council, 2006; and Rodriguez, Quarantelli, and Dynes, 2006). All is not known, and serious gaps remain in knowledge about important topics, but we are at this time far beyond just educated guesses on many dimensions of the relevant behaviors. Our focus is on six different behavioral aspects of disasters, primarily occurring around the impact time period of such crises. Stated in just a few words, we look at panic flight and at antisocial looting behavior, supposed passivity in emergencies, role conflict and abandonment, severe mental health consequences, and the locus of whatever problems surface. We present what is often assumed, believed, or stated on these matters—at least in popular discourse and to a varying extent in policy, planning, and operational circles—as over against what study and research has found.
- ItemOrigin and History of the International Research Committee on Disasters (RC-39)(International Research Committee on Disasters, 2009) Quarantelli, E. L.This version of the origin and history of RC-39 was prepared by E. L. Quarantelli, President Emeritus of the RC-39 and Professor Emeritus, University of Delaware (USA). The RC-39 developed out of the fact that sociologists predominated in the pioneering stage of disaster studies.
- ItemThe Structure of Disaster Research: Its Policy and Disciplinary Implications(Research Committee on Disasters, International Sociological Association, 1994-03) Dynes, Russell R.; Drabek, Thomas E.The context of sociological research on disaster is discussed by the various settings in which the research tradition has developed. In addition, both funders and users of that research are identified. It is suggested that the most important policy use of disaster research has been to change the conceptualization of disaster. While no specific study can be directly tied to particular policy changes, the overall research tradition has had a transforming effect. That transformation is, of course, more obvious in some societies than in others. In the future, it is suggested that increased attention will be given to disaster preparedness and planning because of more and worse disasters. This means that social science research will continue to thrive because of its potential utility in problem solving. However, future research will be increasingly cast in interdisciplinary terms. Given the reluctance to support basic research, the relationship between applied research and the core disciplines will become more problematic.
- ItemConverting Disaster Scholarship into Effective Disaster Planning and Managing: Possibilities and Limitations(Research Committee on Disasters, International Sociological Association, 1993-03) Quarantelli, E. L.I have spent most of my professional life since the 1950s doing research on the social aspects of disasters. This social science research in which I have participated, is of course part of a much larger body of studies undertaken in the last 40 years, could be characterized in a whole variety of ways as to findings, motifs, implications, uses, etc. But there is one theme that runs through the bulk of the work that has been done up to now: according to research findings much of what is generally believed about disaster related individual and group behavior is not true or correct. As I and others have phrased it, we are embedded in a great number of misconceptions or myths about behavior in disasters. This disaster mythology clearly does not make for effective planning for or managing of such crisis occasions.
- ItemImproving Theory and Research on Hazard Mitigation: Political Economy and Organizational Perspectives(Research Committee on Disasters, International Sociological Association, 1989-11) Tierney, Kathleen J.This paper opens with a discussion of the progress that has been made to date in research and theory on mitigation. It goes on to suggest approaches that, by addressing neglected aspects of mitigation-related issues, may improve our understanding of the topic. Woven through the paper are calls for several shifts in emphasis with respect to studies on mitigation: (1) from a social system, consensus model to a conflict model on society and community; (2) from an event-based, discontinuous concept of disaster and mitigation to a view that stresses the continuity between ongoing social life and the disruption occasioned by natural and technological agents; (3) from the study of the social consequences of disasters to the study of aspects of the social order that increase risk and lead to disasters; and (4) from an individualistic, social psychological approach to mitigation to a perspective that takes into account macrolevel social phenomena.