Modern Disasters as Outrage and Betrayal

November 1995 (VOL. 13, NO. 3)

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The concept of disaster in the modern world has been socially constructed from traditional notions relating to catastrophic events. Disasters in modern societies contain strong elements of a release of repressed existential anxiety, triggered by a perceived betrayal of trust by contemporary institutions. It is speculated that the well-known “disaster myths” that figure in media and other accounts of disastrous events are elements of a related characterization of disasters as a loss of control of social order.