Disasters Can Lift Veils: Five Issues for Sociological Disaster Studies

Nicole CURATO, Jonathan Corpus Ong

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In this Introduction to the Special Issue, we aim to take stock of these theoretical, methodological, and political debates by summarizing five key issues in the sociology of disasters. We have selected these issues based on recurring themes we have observed as we surveyed the literature, conducted our own field research, and exchanged ideas with fellow participants in the PSS conference. In the next section we ask five key questions: (1) Do disasters mark change or continuity?; (2) Are disasters exceptional events defined by solidarity or anomie?; (3) Do sociological disaster studies need to decenter human societies from the focus of inquiry?; (4) What perspective can global sociology offer in disaster studies?; and (5) Have sociologists become part of the so-called “disaster industrial complex” of parachute journalists, humanitarian workers, disaster risk reduction experts, and reconstruction project consultants? Our modest attempt to take on these questions and bring together these debates is by no means exhaustive and by any stretch of the imagination definitive. Our goal is to set the scene for the articles published in this issue by locating their sociological engagements in the growing field of sociological disaster research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalPhilippine Sociological Review
Issue numberSpecial Issue
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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