Trapped: Expanding Student Understanding of Multiorganizational Coordination through the Use of Fiction

November 2018 (VOL. 36, NO. 3)

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While professors in other sub-fields of sociology occasionally have incorporated fictional works into their courses, rarely, if at all, has this been attempted in disaster and hazard studies. This paper is a summary of one such effort including both the rationale and approach. Following discussion of context, a case example of an original fictional story is described including its origins and method of analysis. The story is rooted in an actual disaster and based on data obtained shortly afterwards. This approach provides both links to the humanities and greater depth of student understanding of core concepts, like multiorganizational coordination which is used in this case example. Through this strategy students enhance their ability to empathize with disaster responders and victims who too often are trapped in social structures that result in failure.