Conference – Emergencies and affected peoples: philosophy, policy and practice

The University of Birmingham is hosting, “Emergencies and affected peoples: philosophy, policy and practice” on Friday 4th July 2014 (09:00-17:30).

Keynote delivered by Professor David Alexander (UCL)

Enrico Quarantelli is considered the founder of the social science of disasters. His research offers that “a disaster is primarily a social phenomenon and is thus identifiable in social terms” (Quarantelli & Dynes, 1977, p. 24). The recognition that disasters are social incidents – as well as physical and political ones – is important to our understanding of what really happens in a disaster. A thorough understanding of the social component in disasters also helps us understand what needs to be done to bring society to a post-emergency normality.

Emergencies and Affected People: Philosophy, Policy and Practice aims to investigate this relationship in order that we might inform policy and better support casualties of disaster. With a cross-discipline, cross-emergency-type concentration on those affected, discussants in this conference will investigate various societal realities and their connection with our experiences in emergency situations. Each panel has one academic and one practitioner; the panels were organized in this way in order to stimulate debate and balance theoretical and practical perspectives.

There is a common theme, though, across the four panels: all social scientists – whether academics or practitioners – aim to inform debates around and improve how we help those impacted by an emergency. Our goal today is therefore to raise awareness of the societal issues that occur during a disaster and contribute to the debate about how best to help those affected.

To register for the conference, please email with your name and affiliation. The conference is free to attend but registration is required as space is limited.