About the Author
Dr. Gregory Button is a nationally recognized expert on disasters who has been studying extreme events for over thirty years. As a reporter and producer for public radio he covered and reported on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the controversy surrounding Love Canal and the eruption of Mount St. Helens. He has also been a U.S. Congressional Fellow in the Senate. He currently a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Director of the Center for Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights; and a Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice.
“I consider Disaster Culture required reading for victims of environmental disasters and those charged with managing them. The next time a dam collapses or a rig explodes, my advice is to pick up this book. Dr. Button skillfully outs corporate and government officials whose post-disaster spin tactics repeatedly exacerbated public suffering, slowed recovery, and prevented long-term solutions.”
—Lisa Evans, Senior Administrative Counsel, Earthjustice
“Drawing on his hands-on expertise, and providing a comparative survey of the key recent incidents, Gregory Button gives us an important new analysis of the disaster as a modern phenomenon.”
—Brinkley Messick, Columbia University
“In this illuminating, timely and sometimes moving book, Gregory Button combines an anthropologist’s socio-cultural insight with a journalist’s storytelling skill and eye for detail, showing how science, industry and the media become politicized and manipulated in the struggle to gain control over the interpretation of disastrous events. Button skillfully deconstructs the knowledge and information created to assess causation, damage, and responsibility, demonstrating how vested interests avoid culpability, responsibility, and liability. Particularly crucial is the problem of uncertainty and contingency, inherent in science, and the ways its calculated manipulation has been used to erase the lived experience of disaster-affected peoples, whose anguish, despair, grief, anger, and activism are evocatively presented, often in their own voices. This book will become required reading in any course on disasters as well as for anyone concerned with the issues of social and environmental justice that disasters inevitably bring to the fore.”
—Anthony Oliver-Smith, University of Florida