Disaster Studies: An Analysis of the Social Historical Factors Affecting the Development of Research in the Area

November 1987 (VOL. 5, NO. 3)

Download this article

Almost nothing has been written about the social historical emergence and development of social and behavioral research on disasters. This paper provides a description and a sociology of scientific knowledge analysis of the factors affecting the initiation of studies int he area in the United States. First, we note how disaster research on group and behavioral aspects of disasters had their roots, almost exclusively, in rather narrowly focused applied questions or practical concerns. Second, we point out how this led to certain kinds of selective emphases in terms of what and how the research was undertaken in the pioneering days, but with substantive consequences which we still see operative today.