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At a time of increasing globalization and worldwide vulnerability, the study of disasters has become an important focus for anthropological research. Disasters and their aftermaths affect all dimensions of a community's social structures as well as its relations with its environment. They both reveal and become an expression of the complex interactions of physical, biological and sociocultural systems. Disasters not only manifest the interconnections of these three factors but also expose their operations in the material and cultural worlds. Using a variety of natural and technological events, including Mexican earthquakes, drought in the Andes and in Africa, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Oaklands firestorm, and theBhopal gas disaster, the authors of this volume explore the potentials of disaster for the ecological, political-economic, and cultural approaches to anthropology, along with the perspectives of archaeology and history. They also discuss the connection between theory and practice and what anthropology can do for disaster management, particularly regarding the moral issue of aid. As anthropology entails a comprehensive format shared by no other social science , the editors write, it can - and well should - take a place at the centre of disaster theory research and practice .
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...a most interesting read which will resonate with academics and citizens as this brave new millennium of ours continues to present us with new and increasingly complex disasters.' Jonathan Skinner, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Dec 2004
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