Humanitarian catastrophe

Humanitarian catastrophe

Yanitsky O.N.,

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Principal Researcher, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 71622 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.01.07

For citation:

Yanitsky O.N. Humanitarian catastrophe. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 1. P. 71-84. (In Russ.).


A humanitarian catastrophe is still insufficiently investigated phenomenon in social sciences. The main topics of the article are humanitarian catastrophe as a form of all-embracing risk society, its specific social order and ways of life, its uncertainty and turbulent character, a barrier role of modern bureaucracy in mitigation of the catastrophe’s consequences, and the limits of rehabilitation of affected population and ecosystems. Seven major features of the above phenomenon have been identified and analyzed: first, risks engendered by the catastrophe equally embrace an institutional system of a society, habits of life, natural and man-made ecosystems; second, every catastrophe has a dynamic character: in the course of its development some of its agents loss their power while others gained more strength. As a rule, starting as a local conflict the catastrophe gradually acquires an international character; third, the processes of socio-ecological metabolism generated by a catastrophe have no definite space-time margins; fourth, these processes generates so-called unintended consequences and have an uneven and probable character; fifth, the above catastrophes are of two kinds: a sharp overall destruction (with recurrent after-shocks) of a natural and human community and its long-term ‘peaceful’ extinction which is risky as well; sixth, a behavior of bureaucratic machine responsible for the render of humanitarian assistance is an important indicator of value system of a given society; seventh, the author came to the conclusion that the majority of economic and socio-political catastrophes are not the ‘unintended events’ but presents by themselves a cumulative effects of a long chain of daily events. In the end, any long-term catastrophe is a humanitarian one.

all-embracing risk society; bureaucracy; humanitarian catastrophe; social order; time-space dimension of; post-catastrophe period; rehabilitation.

Content No. 1, 2015

See also:

Shebanova M.A.,
International bureaucracy as the stratum of transnational political elites. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No1

Efremenko D.V.,
Democracy and Ecological Risk Communication as Problems of Environmental Politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2006. No6

Beck U.,
Living in and coping with world risk society: the cosmopolitan turn. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No5

Kokoshin A.A., Kokoshina Z.A.,
The Afghan crisis: a global and regional problem for the world community. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No2

Korgunyuk Yu.G.,
Modern Russia’s Political Elite as Viewed from the Angle of Social Representation (I). – Polis. Political Studies. 2001. No1



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