chapter
Introduction
Pages 9

There are clear difficulties associated with establishing what actually constitutes a ‘disaster’ within football-related contexts and beyond. In purely quantitative, ‘measurable’ terms (numbers of dead, physical damage, economic cost, etcetera) the incidents described in this book are manifestly different from the large-scale natural or man-made disasters that periodically blight particular regions of the world. Nonetheless, the same descriptor is routinely applied. This conceptual problem has featured prominently in the development of disaster studies as a field of academic enquiry. By acknowledging that there are significant quantitative differences between events that are popularly depicted as disasters, much of the early work in this field attempted to provide a fixed quantitative measure that could define which incidents qualify as disasters and which do not.