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Comparing vulnerabilities: Toward charting an historical trajectory of disasters

Bankoff, Greg

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Abstract

Disasters have two historical trajectories, one,natural' in that they involve one or more physical hazards and the other societal in that they are largely culturally determined. They are 'historical' in the sense that both forces change over time. Charting an historical trajectory of vulnerability allows us to compare how skilfully different communities and societies in the past managed all kinds of climatic and seismic risks. A comparative perspective that does not start with the assumption that any one culture's approach is superior to any other's encourages us to learn not only from what people did previously but from what others do now, how especially non-western societies go about disaster preparedness, mitigation and recovery in the present. Finally, comparing vulnerabilities also encourages us to see disasters as more than purely destructive events in the short term and also to consider them as transformative agents in the longer term.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 31, 2007
Journal HISTORICAL SOCIAL RESEARCH-HISTORISCHE SOZIALFORSCHUNG
Print ISSN 0172-6404
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 3
Pages 103 - 114
APA6 Citation Bankoff, G. (2007). Comparing vulnerabilities: Toward charting an historical trajectory of disasters. Historical Social Research ==, 32(3), 103 - 114. https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.32.2007.3.103-114
DOI https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.32.2007.3.103-114
Keywords Disaster; World population; Urbanity; Industrial nation; Metropolis; Risk; Society; Historical analysis; Comparison; Climate change; Natural disaster; Developing country
Publisher URL https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/6271

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This document is made available under a CC BY Licence (Attribution). For more Information see: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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