In Memoriam of Enrico L. Quarantelli
Henry was a pioneer in the sociology of disaster.
His research covered nearly every topic that is presently studied, sometimes only in a nascent form, but it is easy to see the intellectual origins of many ideas that we pursue now. Organizational change, emergence, volunteers, disaster mental health, emergency operations centers, warnings, evacuations, and emergency medical care among other subjects all form part of the vast corpus of research that undergirds modern disaster science.
His last work remains in progress, a broad survey of the popular culture of disaster that he worked on with Ian Davis. He was long interested in the representation of disasters in music, art, folklore, and film. His theoretical approach in symbolic interactionism was on display: how did these representations reflect how a local population understood the disaster and drew it into their collective experience? How did it shape the awareness of those who weren’t there? He always hoped that someone would tackle popular culture in more detail. Perhaps someone will. His research is widely known, but some of his work is known only in a smaller circle, such as his development of cooperative relationships with scholars in Japan, beginning some thirty years ago and persisting to this day. The field is young enough that today’s senior scholars were around for much of its development, but newer scholars may not know the provenance of certain fixtures of our intellectual lives.
His work with colleagues in establishing the International Research Committee on Disasters, part of the International Sociological Association, and the founding of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, have provided an important infrastructure for scholarly communication. Because IJMED is freely available online, it serves as a vital resource for the practice and policy communities.
Henry's devotion to our field and to the well-being of so many people will be remebered.