Dissertation Abstracts

A Comparative Study of Disaster Process in Local Communities

Author: NAKASU, Tadashi , Tadashi.N@chula.ac.th
Department: Policy Studies
University: Iwate Prefectural University, Japan
Supervisor: Dr.Munetaka Kurahara
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: Japanese

Keywords: Disaster process , Local communities , Human suffering , Development-Environment-Disast
Areas of Research: Disasters , Historical and Comparative Sociology , Community Research


Japan faced its most extraordinary and severe disaster since the Second World War, Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster (GEJET) in 2011. After the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, Japan worked hard as a leading country for disaster management and mitigation and tried to play a key role for international societies such as declaring the Hyogo framework for Action (HFA) in 2005. However, Japan is facing a third turning point because of GEJET after firstly Typhoon Isewan and secondly the Great-Hanshin Awaji Earthquake and now needs to review its strategy and history. Japanese disaster research has advanced significantly since the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, however, it tends to focus on each researcher's specialty and emphasizes single case studies and recovery studies. This makes it difficult to be piled up the experience for further disaster research.

The thesis can be divided into four parts. The first is theoretical. It details research backgrounds and identifies the research questions. The second is case studies, which are analyses of human suffering exacerbation and recovery processes. The third is the proposal of the research framework which can be utilized for disaster research. The fourth is the challenge and future perspectives of disaster research.

Concerning the first part, the thesis emphasizes that there is not enough social scientific research on natural disasters in Japan even though Japan has a lot of experience with natural disasters which cause huge physical, economic and social damage. Then the thesis tries to provide perspectives, methods, and past work utilizations of disaster research, based on comparative studies, and the stocks of data and experience which could be utilized for future research. In particular it tries to answer the following questions: How does disaster research combine with past social scientific research including area studies? How can disasters be analysed? , What can this thesis gain?

In reference to the second part, through comparing and analysing the human suffering exacerbation processes of several local communities severely hit by natural disasters such as Nagoya in 1959(Typhoon Isewan), New Orleans in 2005(Hurricane Katrina), Metro Manila in 2009(Typhoon Ondoy), and Rikuzentakata in 2011(GEJET), and the recovery processes of several communities based on the analyses of recovery theories, the methods, processes, and outcomes are clearly indicated.

With regard to the third and fourth parts, a development, environment, and disaster cycle model is proposed as an analytic framework for effective disaster research of local communities. Perspectives for further disaster studies are also examined.