Lessons learned? Disasters, rapid change and globalization

Comparing the two tsunamis of Lisbon in 1775 and of Asia in 2004, the article analyses the different paradigmatic interpretations of "Western" religious and secular causality. Based on the rational concept of risk-making and risk-taking, the need to accept failures and their consequences is discussed as well as the responsibility to develop human strategies for disaster prevention and foster living conditions which may avoid large-scale suffering.

About the author

Wolf R. Dombrowsky

Has been engaged since 1979 in disaster research at the Institute of Sociology, Christian-Albrechts-University. In 1987 he became Deputy Head and in 2002 Head of the Institute’s sociological Disaster Research Centre (Katastrophenforschungsstelle, KFS). He is a member of the Protection Commission of the German Ministry of the Interior and a member of the Environment Ministry’s Radiation Protection Commission.