USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 19, No. 3. (November 2001)

Articles by:

    Alan Kirschenbaum, "Mass Terrorism and the Distribution of Gas Masks in Israel: A Longitudinal Cohort Analysis," pp. 245-267.

      This paper describes and analyzes the distribution of gas masks in Israel. It is based on a longitudinal cohort analysis to assess the effectiveness of the program and those factors explaining skill level in mask use. A matched cohort sample ten years after the original distribution in 1991 are compared along with pre and post Gulf War mask recipients. The results suggest that the original distribution program to have been extremely effective in maintaining skill level in use, providing client satisfaction and increasing protective confidence. A matched cohort 10 years later showed a continuation of these high levels of preparedness and of skills required to effectively use gas masks. Contrasting pre-post Gulf War mask recipients revealed those who experienced the war had significantly higher mask-use skill levels. Marital status, and risk perceptions of an imminent war accounted for these differences. (AA)

    William E. Feinberg and Norris R. Johnson, "The Ties that Bind: A Macro-Level Approach to Panic," pp. 269-295.

      We clarify a theoretical conceptualization of panic as a collective phenomenon, develop an operational measure of the concept, and offer a way of contrasting differences across collectivities (rather than among individuals) in order to determine if a panic as a collective action occurred. We illustrate our way of contrasting differences by using data from the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire of 1977, examining the proportions surviving of different social categories present in the Cabaret Room, where most of the deaths occurred. There is no evidence that a complete breakdown of these norms-a panic-occurred. We conclude that the evacuation of the Cabaret Room was dominated by a set of norms and role obligations consistent with the typical social order in which the (socially-defined) weak get help from the (socially-defined) strong, such as women helped by men. (AA)

    Vincent T. Gawronski and Richard Stuart Olson, "Tapping Collective Memory of Disaster: Getting "Inside" the 1985 Mexico City Earthquakes," pp. 297-322.

      Disasters achieve an enduring place or status in the history of a society by becoming part of the collective memory of its people. Using literary-cultural production and survey research data from 1997-1998, this paper explores the place of the great September 19 and September 20, 1985 Mexico City earthquakes in the collective memory of the Mexican people. The principal finding is that, of all the traumas that affected Mexico in the latter half of the twentieth century, the earthquakes of 1985 rank-and are almost twinned in importance-with the 1968 student protests and resulting Massacre at Tlatelolco. Both events turn out to be historical markers in Mexican collective memory. (AA)

Feedback from the Field:

    Wolf R. Dombrowsky, "Do We Still Ask the Right Questions? Comments on Societal Dynamics, Fallibility, and Disasters," pp. 323-328.

    Paul L. Hewett, Jr., Jacques E. Mitrani, William C. Metz, and James J. Vercellone, "Coordinating, Integrating, and Synchronizing Disaster Response: Use of an Emergency Response Synchronization Matrix in Emergency Planning, Exercises, and Operations," pp. 329-348.

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