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Saúde e Sociedade

Print version ISSN 0104-1290


VALENCIO, Norma. Disasters, social order and civil defense planning: the Brazilian context. Saude soc. [online]. 2010, vol.19, n.4, pp.748-762. ISSN 0104-1290.

Sociological research on disasters has many approaches targeted at institutions and power relationships. Disasters have implications on the social order, and the social order can collaborate to produce disasters. The social disruption deriving from inequality situations influences the response to disaster events, including political and economic factors that increase vulnerability. This paper analyzes the institutional discourse and the civil defense practices in the Brazilian context. First of all, it describes the main approaches of the sociology of disasters: the minimal consensus, the polarity and dichotomy, and shows one approach about the relationship between unequal development, vulnerability and civil defense planning. The present situation in Brazilian cities is of restriction to land access and it results in an increase in disasters. If changes do not occur in State's planning, with the adoption of new strategies explicitly formulated to break up the ideological point of view that subjects the poor groups, the disasters will continue happening. In the present structural dimension of planning, the Brazilian civil defense system classifies the vulnerable groups without considering social complexity. Disasters do not completely destroy the existing social systems, but they are capable of maintaining continuous processes of social indifference. Thus, the paper concludes by emphasizing the development of a participatory agenda in civil defense planning and decision-making processes.

Keywords : Sociology of Disasters; Civil Defense; Vulnerability.

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