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The origins of the sociology of disasters are first of all outlined, within the context of the American society in the fifties. Subsequently the development of the discipline in the same country and all over the world is analysed, with particular regard to Italy. Some theoretical definitions of disaster are reviewed and criticised, in connection with their practical applications in empirical research. The main trends are traced with regard to research topics and findings. Finally, the sociological studies conducted at the time of the Friuli earthquake, in 1976, are described briefly and their main findings summarised.

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Authors: DE MARCHI B, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Quaderno di Ecologia Umana (1993)
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