Disasters and Social Change Chapter uri icon


  • This chapter explores the potential implications of natural disasters for stimulating social change in impacted social systems. More precisely, this chapter focuses on large scale, sudden onset disaster events and explores the consequences set in motion by these event for potentially stimulating and resulting in both short- and long-term changes in the social systems. The authors offer approaches for 1) assessing the magnitude of disasters relative to the socials systems impacted, 2) conceptualizing social change, focusing on social structure and organization and 3) provide a series of theoretical arguments for hypothesizing change in the wake of a natural disasters. Research and fieldwork experiences from the 1976 Guatemalan earthquake, undertaken by the authors and their collaborators, are employed to illustrate and support the disasters and social change hypothesis.

author list (cited authors)

  • Peacock, W. G.

complete list of authors

  • Peacock, WG

editor list (cited editors)

  • Dynes, R. R., De Marchi, B., & Pelanda, C.

Book Title

  • Sociology of Disasters Contribution of Sociology to Disaster Research

publication date

  • January 1987