A Comparison of Disaster Paradigms: The Search for a Holistic Policy Guide

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Abstract

The following article discusses the current emphasis and attention being given to the future of emergency management, as well as theoretical constructs designed to guide research and help practitioners reduce disaster. It illustrates that while the disaster-resistant community, disaster-resilient community, and sustainable development/sustainable hazards mitigation concepts provide many unique advantages for disaster scholarship and management, they fail to sufficiently address the triggering agents, functional areas, actors, variables, and disciplines pertaining to calamitous events. In making this argument, the article asserts that any future paradigm and policy guide must be built on—yet go further than—comprehensive emergency management. The article also reviews and alters the concept of invulnerable development. Finally, the article presents “comprehensive vulnerability management” as a paradigm and suggests that it is better suited to guide scholarly and practitioner efforts to understand and reduce disasters than the aforementioned perspectives.

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