HKS Authors

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Government plays a critical role in mitigating individual and collective vulnerability to disaster, whether that disaster is natural or man-made. Through zoning regulations, catastrophe insurance, disaster relief, infrastructure development and other measures, public policy is central to making society more resilient. Nevertheless, the burden of societal risk has recently shifted away from the public sector and towards individuals, leaving citizens increasingly vulnerable to the effects of disaster, which the events of Hurricane Katrina made strikingly clear. How can thoughtful policy interventions improve our capacity to withstand catastrophic events? This volume summarizes social science research on disaster and the politics of intervention, including chapters on disaster policy and social welfare; the provision of catastrophe insurance; the federal organization of emergency preparedness and response; and nongovernmental management of infrastructure and vulnerability.


Jasanoff, Sheila. "Beyond Calculation: A Democratic Response to Risk." Disaster and the Politics of Intervention. Ed. Andrew Lakoff. Columbia University Press, November 2009.