Converting Disaster Scholarship into Effective Disaster Planning and Managing: Possibilities and Limitations

March 1993 (VOL. 11, NO. 1)

Download this article

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.