Interpretations of Calamity
From the Viewpoint of Human Ecology
Originally published in 1983, Interpretations of Calamity provides a provocative critique of the ‘dominant view’ of research into natural hazards. Throughout the world, there are now many people professionally engaged in the mitigation and control of risks & hazards, and the impact of continuing economic development will ensure that they are fully employed. There is a wealth of perspectives in the book, including weather and wheat yields in the Soviet Union and Canada, an historical view of underdevelopment and hazards in Ireland and the impact of a response to drought in southern Africa, the Sahel and the Great Plains of the USA. The book reflects the major themes of hazards in the context of economic development and social change. Most of the case studies are from the rural and agriculture scene. This book provides a unique view of the vital importance of food production and of the considerable, and sometimes calamitous, impact that frost, flood, storm and drought have on the wellbeing of millions of people and on the stability of the international economic system.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Part I: Natural Disaster: Mischance or Misnomer?
1. The Idea of Calamity in a Techncratic Age, Kenneth Hewitt
2. Coping with Frosts, Governments and Disaster Experts: Some Reflections Based on a New Guinea Experience and a Perusal of the Relevant Literature, Eric Waddell
3. The Bushmen and the British: Problems of the Identification of Drought and Responses to Drought, George E.B. Morren, Jr.
4. Drought in the US Great Plains: Shifting Social Consequences, Richard A. Warrick
5. The Sahelian Drought: Social Sciences and the Political Economy of Underdevelopment, Jean Copans
6. Underdevelopment and Hazards in Historical Perspective: An Irish Case Study, Colm Regan
Part II: Hazards in Context: Problems of Agricultural Development and Food Security
7. Interpreting the Role of Hazards in Agriculture, Kenneth Hewitt
8. The Place of Climatic Hazards in Food Scarcity: A Case Study of Belize, Jerry A. Hall
9. Food Production Under Conditions of Increased Uncertainty: The Settlement of the Paraguayan Chaco by Mennonite Farmers, A. Hecht and J.W. Frezt
10. Climactic Hazards and Agricultural Development: Some Aspects of the Problem in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent
11. Wheat Yields and Weather Hazards in the Soviet Union, Ihor Stebelsky
12. Climactic Hazards and Canadian Wheat Trade, Gordon A. McKay
Part III: Alternative Frameworks
13. On the Poverty of Theory: Natural Hazards Research in Context, Michael Watts
14. Global Disasters, A Radical Interpretation, Paul Susman, Phil O’Keefe and Ben Wisner
15. A General Approach to the Identification of Hazards and Responses, George E.B. Morren, Jr