Article Index

The Sociology of Social Movement in Japan

Authors
Shinji Katagiri, Tsutomu Shiobara
Issue
August 1986
Description
The sociology of social movement in Japan has recently been expanding. The field has been revitalized by the introduction, mostly by the younger generation, of the resource mobilization model. The situation is parallel to that in the United States. However, Japan and the United States have differences in their respective histories of social movement and in the research done on the phenomenon. A proper understanding of the current state of the sociology of social movement in Japan, and its prospects for the future, is impossible if these differences are ignored. This paper attempts to describe the actual changes in the conditions of society affecting movements, and to place the study of movements within that perspective. In other words, the analysis of the study of social movements in Japan undertaken here is also a kind of exercise in the sociology of knowledge.

The Southern California Earthquake Preparedness Project: Evolution of an Earthquake Entrepreneur

Authors
W. Henry Lambright
Issue
November 1985
Description
A major problem for at governments in earthquake prone countries is how to improve the process of preparedness. In the U.S., a relatively novel mechanism was created to accelerate the pace and intensity of preparedness, including prediction response. Known as the Southern California Earthquake Preparedness Project (SCEPP), the entity had federal and state mandates and funding. It was an extension of federal and state policy into local government and the private sector. Established in 1980 as a temporary, three year organization under one agency in California, it continues today with a five county region of southern California (including Los Angeles) that would be devastated by an expected great earthquake on the south-central San Andreas fault. Although it had a limited budget, small staff, and experienced delays and leadership crisis in its early life, SCEPP is widely regarded today as having made a contribution to earthquake preparedness and prediction response in southern California. This article reviews the evolution of SCEPP as an \\"earthquake entrepreneur\\" and draws lessons from its record of relevance to government and earthquake preparedness generally. SCEPP represents an organizational model that may be considered by other earthquake-threatened settings.

The State of Seismic Mitigation Management in U.S. Pacific Basin Seaports and Harbors

Authors
Gilbert B. Siegel
Issue
August 1989
Description
Analysis of three sources of information (a survey of seaport officials, an analysis of expert opinion, and a case study) on seismic mitigation management in U.S. Pacific Basin seaports revealed the following seven general conclusions. There is little evidence of risk analysis having been conducted for ports. There is need for extensive evaluation of sites and mitigation technology. Older ports and facilities are most vulnerable to seismic events and, for the most part, have not been retrofitted to present day standards.

The Structure of Disaster Research: Its Policy and Disciplinary Implications

Authors
Russell R. Dynes, Thomas E. Drabek
Issue
March 1994
Description
The context of sociological research on disaster is discussed by the various settings in which the research tradition has developed. In addition, both funders and users of that research are identified. It is suggested that the most important policy use of disaster research has been to change the conceptualization of disaster. While no specific study can be directly tied to particular policy changes, the overall research tradition has had a transforming effect. That transformation is, of course, more obvious in some societies than in others.\r\nIn the future, it is suggested that increased attention will be given to disaster preparedness and planning because of more and worse disasters. This means that social science research will continue to thrive because of its potential utility in problem solving. However, future research will be increasingly cast in interdisciplinary terms. Given the reluctance to support basic research, the relationship between applied research and the core disciplines will be come more problematic.

The Three Mile Island Incident: A Study of Behavioral Indicators of Human Stress

Authors
Donald M. Hartsough, Patti Madson, Rick Hufnagel, Dennis S. Mileti
Issue
March 1984
Description
This work sought to specify stress levels induced int he local population around Three Mile Island from the accident in 1979. Unobstrusive behavioral indicators of stress for the population as a whole were compared before, during and after the accident. The conclusions reached were that: (1) the Three Mile Island incident did produce stress in people, (2) the stresses detected through the indicators used in this study were short-lived, not severe enough to manifest themselves in dramatic indicators like psychiatric admissions or suicide, (3) stress was obviously reflected in indicators of mild stress like alcohol consumption, and (4) stress detected was well within the limits of stress that occur annually in that local population from stress inducing events like the occurrence of a major holiday. The conclusions of this study are best interpreted in concert with findings from studies using obstrusive indicators of stress, and with studies on special local sub-populations.

The Tiers that Bind: A Macro-Level Approach to Panic

Authors
Norris R. Johnson, William Feinberg
Issue
November 2001
Description
We clarify a theoretical conceptualization of panic as a collective phenomenon, develop an operational measure of the concept, and offer a way of contrasting differences across collectives (rather than among individuals) in order to determine if a panic as a collective action occurred. We illustrate our way of contrasting differences by using data from the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire of 1977, examining the proportions surviving of different social categories present in the Cabaret Room, where most of the deaths occurred. There is no evidence that a complete breakdown of these norms- a panic- occurred. We concluded that the evacuation of the Cabaret Room was dominated by a set of norms and role obligations consistent with the typical social order in which the (socially-defined) weak get help from the (socially-defined) strong, such as women helped by men.

The Transformation of Community Consciousness: The Effects of Citizens\\' Organizations on Host Communities

Authors
Beth Degutis, Sherry Cable
Issue
November 1991
Description
We compare two citizens\\' organizations and find that mobilization enhanced community solidarity to the point that a collective change of consciousness occurred. We suggest that the effects of a citizens\\' organization on the host community are significantly determined by three factors: the degree of premobilization integration of the community; the presence of economic constraints made salient by the mobilization issue; and the extent to which the issue cuts across existing political cleavages. We conclude that the study of emergent citizens\\' groups in disasters is enhanced by using a social movements perspective.

The Use of Geographic Information Systems in Disaster Research

Authors
Nicole Dash
Issue
March 1997
Description
In the last ten years, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have slowly crept their way into the everyday methodological discourse in areas such as geography, urban planning, and emergency management. However, GIS has yet to be integrated into social science research on disaster. This paper uses examples of GIS use in emergency management to help inform the future direction of GIS use in disaster research. While computers and software and, for the matter, data are vital to the development of an effective system, more important are researchers who can generate theory-based uses for the technology that offer new understandings of disaster phenomena. Only through research teams that include both researchers (idea generators) and technicians (idea “implementers”) can GIS be effectively used in disaster research.

Three Essential Strategies for Emergency Management Professionalization in the U. S.

Authors
Jennifer Wilson, Arthur Oyola Yemaiel
Issue
March 2005
Description
Emergency management in the United States today is not yet a profession, but as a trade it has reached the necessary institutional maturity to advance toward a profession. Emergency management is professionalizing by pursuing the principal characteristics of a profession, namely autonomy or self-regulation and monopoly or exclusiveness (Oyola- Yemaiel and Wilson 2002, 2001, Wilson 2001). We have analyzed the current status of emergency management professionalization by investigating the efforts of various organizations at the U. S. national and state levels to organize the trade as a profession. In particular, we have examined the processes of structural formation, accreditation and certification. In essence, professional status relates directly to the institutional and individual acquisition of autonomy and monopoly to exercise the trade. We conclude that hierarchical structure, individual certification, and institutional accreditation are essential strategies for emergency management to develop as a profession.

Time is of the Essence: Disasters, Vulnerability and History

Authors
Greg Bankoff
Issue
November 2004
Description
As an historian whose interests lie in both contemporary disaster practice as well the historical roots of vulnerability, I have become increasingly intrigued by the manner in which the proponents of these two ‘fields’ approach the question of time in relation to disasters. Needless to say these actors regard it very differently. Social scientists (and here I include mainly sociologists, anthropologists and human geographers) largely pay lip service to its importance, at best mentioning its relevance en passant but giving historical analysis and specific historical example little real consideration in the greater scheme of things. At the same time, though, they place inordinate emphasis on the importance of ‘process’ as the basis upon which their understanding of what turns a natural hazard into a disaster depends. The concept of vulnerability is proposed as the key to understanding how social systems generate unequal exposure to risk by making some people more prone to disaster than others, a condition that is largely a function of the power relations operative in each society (Cannon 1994:14-15, 19; Wisner 1993:131-133). Vulnerability to historians, on the other hand, is not even really a conceptual term and, when used at all, usually indicates a state of being not a condition derivative of historical processes. Above all, disasters are primarily ‘events’ caused by a combination of seismological, meteorological or epidemiological agents (occasionally war is seen in this context as well) that have certain detrimental physical and socioeconomic consequences. At their most extreme, they may even cause the downfall of societies. However, they are rarely integrated into any wider theoretical perspective (Ambraseys 1971; Landsberg 1980). Though both social scientists and historians may talk about disasters, they are not necessarily talking about the same thing: the one sees disasters as primarily a historical processes (or processes set within recent temporal parameters), the other as non-sequential historical events. This is unfortunate because primarily disasters are both historical processes and sequential events. If this assertion sounds rather convoluted, I trust the following discussion will make the distinction somewhat clearer though no amount of clarification is really sufficient to adequately address this question. Instead, I intend what I say more as ‘a line of thinking in progress’ than ‘a work in progress’.