USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 18, No. 2 (August 2000)

Articles by:

    Richard Stuart Olson, "Toward a Politics of Disaster: Losses, Values, Agendas, and Blame," pp. 265-287.

      Offering exemplars from around the world, including China, Mexico, Nicaragua, and California, this paper argues that disasters must be understood and analyzed more deeply and more often as explicitly political events. The paper also argues that because politics is the "authoritative allocation of values," the politics-disaster nexus revolves around the allocation of several important values: life safety in the pre-event period, survival in the emergency phase, and "life chances" in the recovery and reconstruction periods. The paper concludes by suggesting that the literatures on agenda control and causal stories/blame management are particularly useful points of departure for analyzing disasters as intrinsically political events. (AA)

    Thomas E. Drabek, "Pattern Differences in Disaster-Induced Employee Evacuations," pp. 289-315.

      When people are at work and they learn that disaster is imminent, what are their responses? To what degree are there pattern differences in their response profiles because of event variations or structural features of the business firm for which they work? Interviews with employees (n = 406) of 118 businesses impacted by one of seven different recent disasters provide the first answers to these questions. While there were many interdependencies among three areas of constraint, analyses documented that many, but not all, aspects of employee evacuation behavior were patterned significantly by: (1) length of forewarning; (2) organizational size; and (3) organizational mission. (AA)

    Michael K. Lindell and Carla S. Prater, "Household Adoption of Seismic Hazard Adjustments: A Comparison of Residents in Two States," pp. 317-338.

      Residents of a high seismic hazard area were compared with those in a moderate seismic hazard area in terms of demographic characteristics, personal hazard experience, risk perception, hazard intrusiveness, and self-reported adoption of 16 hazard adjustments (preimpact actions to reduce danger to persons and property). The results show that the two locations differed substantially in hazard experience, somewhat less so in risk perceptions and hazard intrusiveness, and little in hazard adjustment. Multiple regression analyses supported a causal chain in which location and demographic characteristics cause hazard experience, hazard experience causes hazard intrusiveness, perceived risk causes hazard intrusiveness, and hazard intrusiveness causes the adoption of hazard adjustments. (AA)

Feedback from the Field:

    Judith M. Siegel, Kimberley I. Shoaf, and Linda B. Bourque, "The C-Mississippi Scale for PTSD in Postearthquake Communities," pp. 339-346.

      Using a random-digit-dial, computer-assisted telephone survey, the Civilian Mississippi Scale for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was administered in two communities, six to ten months after separate, moderately strong earthquakes. Controlling for demographic attributes, only one earthquake characteristic, in one community, emerged as an independent predictor of PTSD scores. Assuming that the scale is a valid indicator of PTSD, the disorder appears to be relatively rare and is not associated as expected with characteristics of the quake. For the appropriate community services to be mobilized, it is incumbent upon researchers to identify the tools that will provide useful information after a disaster. (AA)

Book reviews by:

    Elaine Enarson, on Anthony Oliver-Smith and Susanna Hoffman (eds.), The Angry Earth: Disaster in Anthropological Perspective, pp. 347-349.

    Nicole Dash, on Kenneth Hewitt, Regions of Risk: A Geographical Introduction to Disasters, pp. 351-353.

    William L. Waugh, Jr., on Walter Reich (ed.), Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind, pp. 355-356.

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