The thesis examines the role of the civil society in the response to the Marmara earthquake, Turkey, August 1, 1999. Media and a number of scholars have claimed that the earthquake has been followed by significant changes, and that this is especially connected to the non-governmental disaster management that emerged after the quake. Allegedly, the NGOs have influenced both the concept of disaster, and the dominating position of the central authorities - through criticism of the state’s reluctance to deal with the social causes behind an extreme susceptibility to disaster. Combining internalist perspectives in the sociology of disaster (i.e. perspectives that see disaster as socially co-produced) with the constructivist perspective in Ulrich Beck’s sociology of the risk society, I develop a more sceptical view on the role of the civil society. I argue that even though the NGOs emphasis social factors stronger than the state disaster management does, a majority does not significantly attempt to redefine the boundaries of disaster policy. Besides, I claim that it is uncertain if the organisations in this majority can be said to - by today - have revitalised civil society as competent; society in Turkey. This is because they neither challenge the state directly, nor recognise the public as competent in handling disaster; i.e. because they in no way can be said to have given the public a stronger voice. The organisations that do were established before the earthquake.