FIGURE 1.1 Core topics of hazards and disaster research.

within the social sciences also can provide the foundation for increased collaborative work by social scientists with natural scientists and engineers.


Disasters are non-routine events in societies or their larger subsystems (e.g., regions and communities) that involve conjunctions of physical conditions with social definitions of human harm and social disruption. (Kreps, 2001:3718)

This entry, from the latest edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, draws on the historically rich tradition of hazards and disaster studies within the social sciences, most notably since the post-World World II era (for earlier to more recent statements see Fritz, 1961; Barton, 1969; Dynes, 1970; White and Haas, 1975; Quarantelli and Dynes, 1977; Kreps, 1984; Burton et al., 1993; Kreps and Drabek, 1996; Kunreuther and Roth, 1998; Mileti, 1999b; Tierney et al., 2001;

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