Expanding Social Science Through Disaster Studies Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019 by the Southwestern Social Science Association Objectives: This article provides an overview of how the interdisciplinary field of disaster studies contributes to the social sciences. Methods: The following themes are explored in relation to the articles contained in the special issue: disasters are social and political phenomena that generate policy change, disasters reflect and affect democratic governance, and disasters reveal shared experience and collective identity. Results: Disaster studies bridge the social sciences theoretically and methodologically. Given the scope of disaster impacts—across social, political, economic, ecological, and infrastructure spheres—and the policy response they garner involving public, private, and civic actors, they offer a lens by which to see society and politics in a way that no other critical events can. Conclusion: Disaster studies offer important applications of social science theories and concepts that expand the field, broaden our reach as social scientists, and deepen our understanding of fundamental social processes and behaviors in meaningful ways.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Reinhardt, G. Y., & Ross, A. D.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • May 2019