USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

About the Journal

Official Journal of the Research Committee on Disasters
International Sociological Association

The International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters is published triannually during the months of March, August, and November. It is concerned with the social and behavioral aspects of relatively sudden collective stress situations typically referred to as disasters or mass emergencies. All aspects of the life history of such events, both actual and threatened, are examined including mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities. These situations often are created by natural disaster agents, technological accidents, violent intergroup conflicts, shortages of vital resources, acute and chronic environmental threats, and other kinds of major hazards to life, health, property, well-being, and everyday routines. While the focus of the journal is on work dealing with the human and organizational aspects of mass emergencies, contributions concerning medical, biological, physical engineering, or other technical matters are acceptable if social and behavioral features of disasters are also prominently discussed.

The IJMED addresses issues of theory, research, planning, and policy. The central purpose is publication of results of scientific research, theoretical and policy studies, and scholarly accounts of such events as floods and earthquakes, explosions and massive fires, disorderly crowds and riots, energy cut-offs and power blackouts, toxic chemical poisonings and nuclear radiation exposures, and similar types of crisis-generating situations. Its audience includes specialists within various areas of research and teaching plus people working in the field who are responsible for mitigative, preparedness, response, or recovery actions.

While each issue of the IJMED typically deals with a variety of relevant topics, special issues on particular subjects are published whenever possible to bring together a set of articles on a specific problem area. Since the journal is intended to provide an international forum, contributions from and about all sections of the world are encouraged. Priority is given to those writing with cross-cultural data or implications.

The IJMED has five sections, although not all of these appear in any single issue:
  • Research and Theoretical Articles: Empirical and scholarly studies reflecting the central concerns of the journal.
  • Book and Film Reviews: Critical examinations of the written and visual literature on disasters and mass emergencies.
  • Editorial Commentaries: Brief overviews by journal editors and special-issue editors placing the material in a given issue in the larger context of the state of the field.
  • The Critic's Corner: An open page presenting controversial issues and personal opinions by invited and volunteer authors.
  • Feedback from the Field: Letters to the editor and brief unreferreed commentaries on current questions and issues in the disaster area.

Copyright © 2006
International Research Committee on Disasters (RC 39)
Department of Sociology
CLB 006
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078-4062

ISSN 0280-7270


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School of Policy, Planning, and Development
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California 90089-0626
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