Article Index

The Media in Disaster Threat Situations: Some Possible Relationships Between Mass Media Reporting and Voluntarism

Authors
Brenda Phillips
Issue
November 1986
Description
This research looks at possible relationships between mass media reporting and voluntarism in disaster-threat situations. The setting is a small mid-western city int he United States which was inundated by flood waters in March 1982. Data were collected through interviews with volunteers, organizational and public officials, and the media. Additionally, numerous documents pertaining to the media and volunteers are content analyzed. Observations made on-site supplement the interviews and documents.\r\nThe media are found to have some effect in accordance with the suggestions of dependency theory. The media are also found to have been one of several investigators of increased voluntarism. Conflict arising out of media depiction of the volunteer effort is discussed. Further research on media effects of voluntarism in disaster situations is suggested.

The Nature of Collective Resilience: Survivor Reactions to the 2005 London Bombings

Authors
John Drury, Chris Cocking, Steve Reicher
Issue
March 2009
Description
Accounts from over 90 survivors and 56 witnesses of the 2005 London bombings were analysed to determine the relative prevalence of mass behaviors associated with either psychosocial vulnerability (e.g. ‘selfishness’, mass panic) or collective resilience (e.g. help, unity). ‘Selfish’ behaviors were found to be rare; mutual helping was more common. There is evidence for (a) a perceived continued danger of death after the explosions; (b) a sense of unity amongst at least some survivors, arising from this perceived danger; (c) a link between this sense of unity and helping; and (d) risk-taking to help strangers. We suggest a novel explanation for this evidence of ‘collective resilience’, based on self-categorization theory, according to which common fate entails a redefinition of self (from ‘me’ to ‘us’) and hence enhanced concern for others in the crowd.

The Near Disaster at Three Mile Island

Authors
Peter S. Houts, Linda K. Byrnes, Robert W. Miller, Glenn S. Bartlett
Issue
March 1983
Description
On March 28, 1979, a serious reactor accident occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (USA). Pregnant women and families with pre-school age children were asked to evacuate a five mile area around the plant. Evacuation plans were developed for a twenty mile radius, although no such evacuation occurred.\r\n\r\nTelephone surveys of adults and a questionnaire survey of high school students living near Three Mile Island were carried out from May, 1979, to January, 1980. The data collected show that living near the plan (absolute or perceived proximity), younger age and lower grade level of adolescent respondent, presence of pre-school age child in the home, lower parent\\'s or adult\\'s education, and evacuation of all or part of the family were all associated with a stronger negative affective response to the accident and with the likelihood of having evacuated the area. \r\n\r\nThe behavior of individuals and families following the Three Mile Island accident parallel those occurring in an actual disaster, and extend the theoretical framework of Kinston and Rosser to include the circumstances of potential disasters.

The NORC Research on the Arkansas Tornado: A Fountainhead Study

Authors
E.L. Quarantelli
Issue
November 1988
Description
No abstract.

Theoretical and Research Articles

Authors
E.L. Quarantelli
Issue
March 1987
Description
What should we study? Questions and suggestions for Researchs about the concept of Disasters.

The Organization of Disaster Response Core Concepts and Processes

Authors
Gary A. Kreps
Issue
November 1983
Description
A theory of the structure and process of organization is being developed from archival data which describe the activities of established and emergent groups and organizations following disasters. The theory points to four necessary and sufficient elements of organization--domain, tasks, human and material resources, and activities--while making no assumption about their patterning in time and space. It is argued that 24 logically possible patterns of initiating, maintaining, and suspending organization reflect an underlying continuum of Weberian formal rationality to more elemental forms of collective behavior. Documented patterns for 423 instances of organization from 15 events, the disaster demands to which they were directed, and the focal organizations who performed them are presented. Implications of the evolving theory for disaster research and general sociology are discussed.

The Phases of Disaster as a Relationship Between Structure and Meaning: A Narrative Analysis of the 1947 Texas City Explosion

Authors
Brian K Richardson
Issue
November 2005
Description
Developing disaster phase models has been useful, particularly for understanding response efforts to emergencies and disasters. However, such models are limited in their ability to explain the phases encountered by a social collective, or community, as it progresses through response and recovery efforts. This study examined phases of disaster response and recovery as a sociological problem. A grounded-theory analysis was used to examine 60 personal narratives of the 1947 Texas City explosion, which is an example of a cosmology episode (Weick 1985). Survivors of the explosion provided narrative accounts describing their memories of the incident. Results support the idea that social collectives depend upon a transactional relationship between structure and meaning to make sense of events. The study develops a phase model depicting four phases experienced by the Texas City community prior to, during, and after the disaster. This study reveals contributions gained through analysis of personal narratives to illuminate the relationship between disaster and human activity.

The Piper's Dance: A Paradigm of the Collective Response to Epidemic Disease

Authors
Cornelius G. Hughes
Issue
August 1993
Description
A content analysis of the literature on epidemics, with particular reference to the American experience with AIDS, reveals the natural history of the response of endangered populations to epidemics. The paradigm contains four sequential phases: discernment, in which the threatened society becomes cognizant of the presence of a spreading lethal infection; a collective trauma with symptoms similar to other natural and man-made disasters and attended by denial, epidemic phobia, scapegoating and retribution guilt; avoidance behavior ruled by rational attempts to lessen the risk of contagion; and recovery, in which survivors enabled by biological immunity or medical technology witness the abatement of the epidemic. Though they have distinctive traits, epidemics illustrate the essential dynamics that mark natural and technological disasters.

The Political matrix of Natural Disasters: Africa and Latin America

Authors
Morris Davis, Judith A. Golec, Steven Thomas Seitz
Issue
August 1983
Description
Scarce resources often force governments to make difficult choices in the authoritative allocation of values. Such value decisions are particularly acute in developing counties, where need and demand far exceed government wherewithal. Major structural and political factors, which help explain the response adequacy of developed and developing nations, shed little light on the comparative performance of developing regimes alone. To aid in understanding these latter differences, this article identifies three patterns of authoritative allocation found among the developing countries of Africa and Latin America: ethnic pluralism, corporatism, and egalitarianism. These patterns, in turn, help account for observed variation within developing countries of average number killed, average amount of damage, and average number of victims within the disaster categories of earthquake, flood, epidemic, drought, and storm.

The Political Matrix of Natural Disasters: Africa and Latin America

Authors
Morris Davis, Steven Thomas Seitz
Issue
August 1984
Description
Scarce resources often force governments to make difficult choices in the authoritative allocation of values. Such value decisions are particularly acute in developing countries, where need and demand far exceed government wherewithal. Major structural and political factors, which help explain the response adequacy of developed and developing nations, shed little light on the comparative performance of developing regimes alone. To aid in understanding these latter differences, this article identifies three patterns of authoritative allocation found among the developing countries of Africa and Latin America: ethnic pluralism, corporatism, and egalitarianism. These patterns, in turn, help account for observed variation within developing countries of average number killed, average amount of damage, and average number of victims within the disaster categories of earthquake, flood, epidemic, drought, and storm.