A discipline without a name? Contrasting three fields dealing with hazards and disaster

Reidar Staupe-Delgado, Dina Abdel-Fattah, Christer Pursiainen

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A growing number of research fields have been striving for recognition as an academic discipline. Rather than argue that ‘our field’ should also be recognised as such, we stop to ask two fundamental questions. Our first question concerns whether and how disciplinary concerns would benefit research fields dealing with hazards and disasters. Second, we reflect on the implications of not having a broadly accepted name referring to ‘our’ body of scholarship. We take as our point of departure a comparative assessment of three commonly used umbrella terms used to refer to the broad range of tasks that concern emergencies, hazards and disasters: DRR; homeland security; and societal security. Each of these terms have their associated scientific journals and higher education programmes, as well as policy spheres of influence. We find that greater awareness of the label issue could facilitate increased conceptual pragmatism and integration among related fields, academic programmes and practice communities. Not only would this enhance knowledge creation initiatives, but it would also facilitate the formation of a shared professional and academic identity.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatusUdgivet - 15 feb. 2022


  • Disaster risk reduction (DRR)
  • Homeland security
  • Societal safety and security
  • Resilience
  • Emergency management
  • Disaster studies

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