Research evidence developed over more than five decades of research on human responses to disasters shows that those responses are overwhelmingly adaptive and positive…
Research evidence developed over more than five decades of research on human responses to disasters shows that those responses are overwhelmingly adaptive and positive. However, despite what is known, myths about disaster behavior persist. These include the assumption that the public will panic during large-scale emergencies and the idea that disasters are best managed through hierarchies of command and control. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, these myths are again gaining wide currency even though actual individual, group, and organizational behavior in the World Trade Center disaster directly contradict those assumptions. This is no accident. Beliefs concerning the fragility of the public in the face of emerging homeland security threats are consistent with the perspectives and objectives of organizations that seek to expand their influence in the domestic crisis management arena. These organizational actors, which include the information technology industry, the intelligence and defense establishment, and security think tanks, are generally not familiar with empirical social science research on behavior during disasters and see little value in public participation in the management of newly-recognized threats. Recycled disaster myths support a case for “expertise-based” crisis planning that excludes the public from those activities.
Ethics is the foundation on which societies and cultures are based and are fundamental to political, social and economic decision making. Ethical dilemmas have created controversy and heated debate over the years. Disasters have been defined in public health terms as destructive events that result in the need for a wide range of emergency resources to assist and ensure the survival of the stricken population. Lack of medical resources, in conjunction with a mass casualty situation, can present specific ethical challenges. The purpose of this paper is to explore the ethics of disaster management.
In and after a disaster, ethical questions arise regarding appropriate and fair allocation of relief funds to help with recovery. Research in disaster settings poses unique ethical dilemmas. The researcher must determine how to balance the critical need for research with the ethical obligation of respect for, and protection of, the interests of research participants. Ethics as part of an educational program made available to health care providers may assist disaster responders to make the difficult ethical decisions involved in disasters. This literature review discusses these issues in conjunction with disaster response and recovery.
The cardinal virtues of disaster response are prudence, courage, justice, stewardship, vigilance, resilience, self‐effacing charity and communication. These eight virtues are not considered all inclusive, no more than Aristotle considered that his morals or virtues were all inclusive. Ongoing work in disaster management will help to ensure that such situations are managed in an ethical manner that respects the rights and privileges of all those involved.
The literature reviewed for this paper was based on peer reviewed scholarly writings. Concepts of ethics and justice are important issues in disaster situations. This paper offers ideas to prompt further discussion among disaster managers and students of disaster studies.
Social changes are reliant on an understanding of ethics and how it affects society. This paper puts forward ethical concepts to prompt discussion by disaster responders and managers with the hope of improving disaster management.
The paper is an original document that may be useful to students of disaster management and those who teach disaster management
Things will never be the same, some say, because of 9.11. We feel more vulnerable, more threatened, more at risk. It was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, goes the…
Things will never be the same, some say, because of 9.11. We feel more vulnerable, more threatened, more at risk. It was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, goes the refrain. It was dramatic beyond our worst nightmares. Like millions of others, I watched the events of that lovely morning unfold on television. When the South Tower fell for a few seconds I could not see it collapsing. My blindness wasn’t because of the smoke and dust. It was a cognitive blindness. I could not believe my eyes and so, somehow, my mind denied my brain the truth of the moment.
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether it is useful to tease apart the intimately related propositions of social production and social construction to guide…
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether it is useful to tease apart the intimately related propositions of social production and social construction to guide thinking in the multidisciplinary study of disasters.
The authors address our question by reviewing literature on disasters in the social sciences to disambiguate the concepts of social production and social construction.
The authors have found that entertaining the distinction between social production and social construct can inform both thinking and action on disasters by facilitating critical exercises in reframing that facilitate dialog across difference. The authors present a series of arguments on the social production and construction of disaster and advocate putting these constructs in dialog with vulnerability frameworks of the social production of disasters.
This commentary contributes to disambiguating important theoretical and practical concepts in disaster studies. The reframing approach can inform both research and more inclusive disaster management and risk reduction efforts.
In this chapter, I suggest three conceptual tools developed by William R. Freudenburg and colleagues that characterize the failure of institutions to carry out their…
In this chapter, I suggest three conceptual tools developed by William R. Freudenburg and colleagues that characterize the failure of institutions to carry out their duties – recreancy, atrophy of vigilance, and bureaucratic slippage – are of use beyond environmental sociology in the framing of the September 11, 2001 disaster. Using testimony and findings from primary materials such as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Joint Inquiry hearings and report (2002, 2004a, 2004b) and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004) alongside insider accounts, I discuss how Freudenburg’s tools have the potential to theorize institutional failures that occur in national security decision making. I also suggest these tools may be of particular interest to the U.S. intelligence community in its own investigation of various types of risk and failures.