Sociology of disaster

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A picture showing the The FOUR PAWS disaster relief team has started its mission supporting the Serbian crises team and have already provided food, medical care and rubber boats to quickly reach severely affected regions.
Serbia, Obrenovac - The Four Paws disaster relief team has started its mission supporting the Serbian crises team.

Sociology of disaster or sociological disaster research[1] is a sub-field of sociology that explores the social relations amongst both natural and human-made disasters.[2] Its scope includes local, national, and global disasters - highlighting these as distinct events that are connected by people through created displacement, trauma, and loss. These connections, whether that is as a survivor, working in disaster management, or as a perpetrator role, is non-discrete and a complex experience that is sought to be understood through this sub-field.[3][4] Interdisciplinary in nature, the field is closely linked with environmental sociology and sociocultural anthropology.


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[5][6] and social conflict,[7][8] and more importantly, expose inequalities inherent in the social order by exponentially exacerbating its effects. Studies investigating the emotional impact of disaster state that the emotional responses in these contexts are inherently adaptive. These emotions, when reflected on and processed, lead to post traumatic growth, resilience, increased altruism, and engagement with community.[9]

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.[10]


  1. ^ Matthewman, Steve (2015). Disasters, risks and revelation : making sense of our times. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-29426-5. OCLC 922951332.
  2. ^ Herring, Alison (2013), "Sociology of Disaster", in Bobrowsky, Peter T. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, pp. 926–936, doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_326, ISBN 978-90-481-8699-0, retrieved 2021-01-20
  3. ^ Drabek, Thomas E. (2019). The Sociology of Disaster : Fictional Explorations of Human Experiences. Milton: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-65170-6. OCLC 1117636158.
  4. ^ Tierney, Kathleen J. (2019). Disasters : a sociological approach. Cambridge, UK: Polity. ISBN 978-0-7456-7101-7. OCLC 1043053190.
  5. ^ Drabek, Thomas E. (1986). Human system responses to disaster : an inventory of sociological findings. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-96323-5. OCLC 13859518.
  6. ^ Dynes, Russell Rowe (1969). Organized Behavior in Disaster: Analysis and Conceptualization. Disaster Research Center, Ohio State University.
  7. ^ Barry, John M. (1997). Rising tide : the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-81046-8. OCLC 36029662.
  8. ^ Fradkin, Philip L. (2005). The great earthquake and firestorms of 1906 : how San Francisco nearly destroyed itself. Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-23060-4. OCLC 56128573.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Kieft, J.; Bendell, J (2021). "The responsibility of communicating difficult truths about climate influenced societal disruption and collapse: an introduction to psychological research". Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) Occasional Papers. 7: 1–39.
  10. ^ Fischer, Henry W. (March 2003). "The Sociology of Disaster: Definitions, Research Questions, and Measurements. Continuation of the Discussion in a Post-September 11 Environment". International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. 21 (1): 91–107. doi:10.1177/028072700302100104. S2CID 255732224. ProQuest 60461618.

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