Preparing for Disaster: Building Household and Community Capacity
by Douglas Paton & John McClure

Available from Amazon and Charles C Thomas Publisher Ltd.

Preparing for Disaster book coverThroughout human history, societies have been established and have developed, usually as a result of people’s desire to profit from, benefit from, enjoy or utilize the physical, economic and aesthetic amenities afforded by their natural environment, in areas that increase societal exposure to volcanic, wildfire, storm, flooding, tsunami and seismic systems. Periodically, however, the activity of these often beneficial natural processes can interact with the human settlements in ways that create hazardous conditions for societies, their members and the institutions and infrastructure that people rely on to sustain normal functioning. When this happens, these natural processes become natural hazards.

When societies and their members find themselves, by accident or design, having to co-exist with natural processes capable of threatening life and livelihood there is much they can do to protect themselves from the potentially adverse consequences of hazard events. However, despite the evident advantages that being prepared confer on people and communities, and the fact that people are often aware of their risk, research has consistently found that individual, community and business preparedness levels tend to be low. This book examines why this is so and identified what can be done to expedite the development of sustained preparedness, at household, community and societal levels. It does so by emphasizing the need for this aspect of social risk management to be based on engagement principles; how people engage with their natural environment, how they engage with each other, and how people and agencies and businesses engage with other. An engagement-based approach to hazard preparedness portrays preparedness as a process in with multiple stakeholders (people, scientists, risk management specialists, government agencies, businesses etc.) share responsibility for societal risk management and play complementary roles in how it develops and how it is sustained over time.

Following a discussion of how people relate to the environmental hazards that they need to prepare for, the book then introduces what being comprehensively prepared to manage the impacts of natural hazards means. An analysis of the nature and extent of people’s preparedness is used to frame the progressive discussion of how intra-personal processes, social cognitive theories and social theories can be used to both understand preparedness behaviors and inform the development of sustained individual, community, societal and business preparedness.

Explanations, Accounts, and Allusions: A Critical Analysis
by John McClure

Available from Amazon and Cambridge University Press.

Explanations, Accounts, and Illusions book coverThis book provides a lucid survey of the major viewpoints in social psychology concerning people’s self-awareness (or lack of it), their explanations of their own actions, and their cognitive illusions and self-misunderstandings.

In this readable but scholarly review, John McClure examines the major approaches to social cognition developed in America and Europe, including orthodox models that draw on information-processing and behavioral concepts, and innovative approaches that draw on hermeneutic or interpretive models, discourse analysis, and, in particular, critical theory. The book provides a clear picture of what social psychology shows about people’s awareness of the causes of their own actions. It also describes the nature of the misperceptions and cognitive distortions that underlie psychological disorders and that contribute to people’s failure to achieve their potential and control their circumstances.

This book will interest not only psychologists and advanced students in psychology, but all readers who are interested in consciousness, explanations of actions, and people’s illusions about themselves and their circumstances.