Definition of Disaster

"What is a disaster?" asked Quarantelli (1998), and 12 scientists responded; their views fall within two categories: (1) a disaster is an objectively identifiable phenomenon; or (2) a subjective, socially constructed process (Oliver-Smith, 1999, p. 22). The subjective definition is more useful to anthropology as it views a disaster as a socially constructed crisis in which the significance to the survival of the society is more important than the physical structures that were destroyed. This definition allows for a wide variety of disrupting events to be considered as disasters, such as a flu epidemic, a major earthquake, or the collapse of a banking system. Within the disruptive process, culturally prescribed ways in which people deal with the system collapse or societal readjustment can be studied and understood.

The Polarity Path

The Polarity Path

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