Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 2 Issue 1 (March 1994), Pages 1-60

The Evolution of Research on Technological Crises in the US (pages 10-20)

Technological crises and disasters are becoming an increasingly important menace to society. Over the past three decades these crises have received significant research attention in the United States. This paper examines the evolution of this research.

This research emerged from a specific social‐historical context of the environmental movement and the critique of progressive technological development and industrialization. Its key evolutionary characteristics are discussed in terms of the way in which research issues are framed; the expansion in the domain of research concerns; the explanatory content of studies; the proliferation of research models and frameworks; the emerging methodological pluralism and the fragmented cumulation of knowledge.

The field now needs a unifying focus and anticipatory policies for crisis prevention and management. The paper proposes‘ecologically sustainable economic development’ as a general framework for synthesizing understanding of technological crises. It cautions against unreflexive transfer of knowledge from the US setting to other countries.

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