Sociology of disaster

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Sociology of disaster is a special branch of sociology. The research is predominantly done in the United States, but also in Germany and Italy as well. Theoretically it includes not only local disasters, but catastrophes on a grand scale. A prominent researcher in this area is Robert A. Stallings. The field is closely linked with environmental sociology.

Many studies in the field of Sociology of disaster focus on the link between social solidarity and the vulnerabilities exposed by disasters. Scholarship in this field has observed how such events can produce both social solidarity[1][2][3][4] and social conflict,[5][6][7][8][9] and more importantly, expose inequalities inherent in the social order by exponentially exacerbating its effects.[10]

Early disaster research established the mainstream parameters of what it is to do such research - i.e. a focus on solidarity arising in the aftermath of disasters and that disasters are a consequence of human maladaptation to the hazardous environment.[11]


  1. ^ Barton AH. 1969. Communities in Disaster: A Sociological Analysis of Collective Stress. Garden City, NY: Doubleday
  2. ^ Drabek TE. 1986. Human System Responses to Disaster. New York: Springer-Verlag
  3. ^ Dynes RR. 1970. Organized Behavior in Disaster. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books
  4. ^ Taylor VA. 1977. Good news about disasters. Psychol. Today 5:93-94
  5. ^ Barry JM. 1997. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. New York: Simon & Schuster
  6. ^ Bolton M. 1997. Recovery for whom? Social conflict after the San Francisco earthquake and fire, 1906-1915. PhD thesis. Univ. Calif., Davis
  7. ^ Fradkin P. 2005. The Great Earthquake and Firestorms ofl 906: How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself. Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  8. ^ Henderson AD. 2005. Reconstructing home: gender, disaster relief, and social life after the San Francisco earthquake and fire, 1906-1915. PhD thesis. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, CA. 278 pp.
  9. ^ Phillips B. 1998. Sheltering and housing of low-income and minority groups in Santa Cruz county after the Loma Prieta earthquake. In The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 11, 1989?Recovery, Mitigation, and Reconstruction, ed. JM Nigg, pp. D17-28. U.S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 1553D. Washington, DC: USGPO
  10. ^ Tierney, Kathleen J. 2007. “From the margins to the mainstream? Disaster research at the crossroads” Annual Review of Sociology 33: 503-525.
  11. ^ Tierney.  Missing or empty |title= (help)


  • Lars Clausen: "Social Differentiation and the Long-Term Origin of Disasters", Natural Hazards, 1992 (VI), No. 2, p. 181-190, ISSN 0921-030X
  • Enrico Quarantelli (ed.): What Is A Disaster? London: Routledge 1998