Based on studies of simple oxides, this paper demonstrates that the specific energy deposition modes under irradiation induce modifications of materials over different length scales. On the other hand, we show the Landau phase transition theory, widely used to explain the structural stability of materials out of irradiation, can give a general framework to describe the behavior of these oxides under irradiation. The use of X-ray diffraction techniques coupled with the Raman spectroscopy allows defining in a quantitative way the phenomenological parameters leading to predictive results. This paper clearly shows that in two model systems, pure zirconia and spinels, no unexpected new phases are produced in these oxides irradiated at room temperature and with different fluxes. Such a phenomenological approach may be useful to study the radiation tolerance of many crystalline ceramics (e.g. the zirconium based americium ceramics).