Man-made Disasters

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Butterworth-Heinemann, Jan 1, 1997 - Social Science - 250 pages
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Originally published in 1978, and with the working sub-title 'The Failure of Foresight', this was the first book to suggest the possibility of systematically looking at the causes of a wide range of disasters. It still provides a theoretical basis for studying the origins of man-made disasters, bringing together relevant work based on a study of inquiries into accidents and disasters in Britain over an eleven-year period.

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The book is a classic in the study of disasters. The key theory of the book is the incubation period. Tracing the origin of multiple cases of large failures Turner showed that small errors build up over time. Organizations allow this to happen through misunderstanding and miscommunication of risks. The book was seminal and remains highly relevant in the sociological study of disaster.
The power of the book can only be demonstrated by Perrow's admittance, a leading scholar of disaster, that after this book showed that the root cause of disasters is social and cultural all technical explanations have become mere metaphors.


The origins of disaster
culture politics and organizational
List of 84 accident and disaster reports published

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About the author (1997)

Barry Turner is the editor of "The Statesman's Yearbook," He has been a full-time writer for twenty years and has worked as a journalist and broadcaster in the fields of politics, biography, travel, and education. He holds a Ph.D. in political history.

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