The sociology of disasters has developed in ways that have weakened its ties with mainstream sociology. It has remained remarkably resistant to changes in the broader sociological landscape, and its strong applied focus has been a barrier to theoretical innovation. This situation is changing, as indicated by critiques of traditional ways of conceptualizing and explaining disasters; greater acceptance of constructivist formulations; willingness to acknowledge that disasters are accompanied by both social solidarity and social conflict; and recognition of the significance of the interaction of disasters and risk with gender, class, and other axes of inequality. However, the field is unlikely to overcome its marginal status without significant efforts to link the sociology of disasters with the related fields of risk and environmental sociology and, more broadly, to focus on core sociological concerns, such as social inequality, diversity, and social change.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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