Hurricane Katrina has reinforced the view of some researchers that the scale of any collective crisis has to be taken into account in any analysis .To them, just as “disasters” are qualitatively different from everyday community emergencies, so are “catastrophes” a qualitative jump over “disasters”.
Systematic social science study of disasters (natural and
technological) is about a half-century-old. One of the first problems
addressed by the pioneer researchers was in what ways disasters as
social occasions differed from everyday emergencies. In less than a
decade of field research it was conclusively documented that community
disasters were qualitatively and quantitatively different from routine