Disaster risk management: disciplinary status and prospects for a unifying theory
Van der Waldt, Gerrit
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The purpose of this paper is to explore the disciplinary status of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) as an emerging, applied, social science and to consider prospects for the establishment of a unifying theory or philosophical underpinning for the discipline. The exploration of the disciplinary status is facilitated by content analyses of knowledge products of the discipline, including study material, research reports, and completed postgraduate research to determine the typical categories or specialist areas or domains (curricula) of the discipline as well as a subsequent content analysis of Jàmbá articles. The research findings are then plotted on a focus area maturity model to facilitate opinion formulation regarding the disciplinary status of DRM. The findings reveal surprisingly high levels of maturity and set the parameters for a continuous discourse regarding the current disciplinary status of DRM in South Africa. The paper further proposes steps to establish a unifying theory as overarching paradigm for theory development and testing.