Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 483–485 | Cite as

Gregory Button: Disaster Culture: Knowledge and Uncertainty in the Wake of Human and Environment Catastrophe

Left Coast Press Inc., Walnut Creek, CA. 2010. ISBN 978-1-59874-389-0. Price $24.95 (paperback). 311 pages.
  • Karina Benessaiah

“…if these types of apocalyptic catastrophes have any value it is that in the process of causing things to fall apart they also give us a chance to see the aspects of our world that we as a society seek to run from, that we hide behind veils of denials.” (Diaz 2011)

Media coverage on day one of the disaster: Shattered faces, grime, fear and angst. Dead animals. People screaming, people crying. Panicked masses and confident experts. A month later: no news. This timeline must be familiar to people who watch television or read the newspapers. Disasters are often portrayed as exceptional, confusing, surprising, singular events.

At the heart of the book lies uncertainty: what is it, how is it produced and dealt with and whose uncertainties get heard in the wake of a disaster? Through a very well-documented series of case-studies, Gregory Button shows how powerful institutions such as the media, government agencies, and corporations use science and the law to repeatedly create and maintain...


  1. Diaz, J. 2011. Apocalypse, what disasters reveal. Boston Review, May/June 2011.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban PlanningArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations