USC Price School of Public Policy

Robert A. Stallings

Emeritus Professor
Email:rstallin@usc.edu

Professor Stallings specializes in the study of problematic situations, especially in attempting to understand differences in levels of collective concern across a variety of calamities, catastrophes, crises, disasters, and tragedies. His current interests are in theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues related to the study of crises and disasters.

Research and Consulting:
Professor Stallings’s most recent writing has dealt with theory construction for the sociology of disasters and includes various book chapters and conference papers such as “Disaster, Crisis, Collective Stress, and Mass Deprivation,” (2005); “Disasters, Epidemics, Terrorism, and Other Calamities: Resurrecting Simmel’s Form and Content,” (2001); “A Weberian Program for Disaster Research,” (1999); “Disaster and the Theory of Social Order,” (1998); and “Switzerland’s ‘Holocaust Assets’ Crisis: Its Relevance for a Theory of the Social Order and Disasters” (1998).

Earlier he carried out field studies of neighborhood retention and the issue of “ghost towns” following the 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles, of the community effects of mass evacuation following a train derailment and toxic gas release in Ohio, and of reactions to floods in the Piedmont region of Italy.

Professional Activities:
Professor Stallings currently is president of the Research Committee on Disasters (RC 39) of the International Sociological Association. From 1996–2002 he served as editor of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. He has been a visiting scholar at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany, (1996) and at the University of California, Berkeley (1989). He has served on various review panels at the National Science Foundation, two committees at the National Research Council-National Academy of Sciences, and on the Emergency Preparedness and Response Task Force of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island.

Selected Publications:
Professor Stallings is the author of Promoting Risk: Constructing the Earthquake Threat (Aldine, 1995) and editor of Methods of Disaster Research (Xlibris, 2002). Recent articles and book chapters include: “Methodological Issues,” Handbook of Disaster Research (Springer Verlag, 2006); “Disaster Research,” The Sage Dictionary of Social Research (Sage, 2005); “Soziologische Theorien und Desaster-Studien” [“Sociological Theory and Disaster Studies”], Entsetzliche soziale Prozesse: Theoretische und empirische Annäherungen (LIT Verlag, 2004); “The Problem with the Earthquake Problem,” Social Problems: Constructionist Readings (Aldine, 2003); “Weberian Political Sociology and Sociological Disaster Studies,” Sociological Forum (2002); and “Collective Behavior Theory and the Study of Mass Hysteria,” Disasters, Collective Behavior, and Social Organization (University of Delaware Press, 1994).