Social Vulnerability to Disasters

2nd Edition

Deborah S.K. Thomas, Brenda D. Phillips, William E. Lovekamp, Alice Fothergill

CRC Press
Published May 9, 2013
Textbook - 536 Pages - 68 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781466516373 - CAT# K15068

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The 2010 Haiti and Chili earthquakes, the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in Japan are but a few examples of recent catastrophic events that continue to reveal how social structure and roles produce extensive human suffering and differential impacts on individuals and communities. These events bring social vulnerability to the forefront in considering how disasters unfold, clearly revealing that disasters are not created from the physical event alone. Equally important, people—even those considered vulnerable—respond in innovative and resilient ways that unveil the strength of human ingenuity and spirit. It is not a foregone conclusion that a hazard event, even a large one, will result in catastrophic loss.

This updated second edition of Social Vulnerability to Disasters focuses on the social construction of disasters, demonstrating how the characteristics of an event are not the only reason that tragedies unfurl. By carefully examining and documenting social vulnerabilities throughout the disaster management cycle, the book remains essential to emergency management professionals, the independent volunteer sector, homeland security, and related social science fields, including public policy, sociology, geography, political science, urban and regional planning, and public health. The new edition is fully updated, more international in scope, and incorporates significant recent disaster events. It also includes new case studies to illustrate important concepts.

By understanding the nuances of social vulnerability and how these vulnerabilities compound one another, we can take steps to reduce the danger to at-risk populations and strengthen community resilience overall.

Features and Highlights from the Second Edition:

  • Contains contributions from leading scholars, professionals, and academics, who draw on their areas of expertise to examine vulnerable populations
  • Incorporates disaster case studies to illustrate concepts, relevant and seminal literature, and the most recent data available
  • In addition to highlighting the U.S. context, integrates a global approach and includes numerous international case studies
  • Highlights recent policy changes and current disaster management approaches
  • Infuses the concept of community resilience and building capacity throughout the text
  • Includes new chapters that incorporate additional perspectives on social vulnerability
  • Instructor’s guide, PowerPoint® slides, and test bank available with qualifying course adoption


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