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July 26 , 2008

Rethinking Disaster Recovery

A Hurricane Katrina Retrospective


Rethinking Disaster Recovery focuses attention on the social inequalities that existed on the Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina and how they have been magnified or altered since the storm. With a focus on social axes of power such as gender, sexuality, race, and class, this book tells new and personalized stories of recovery that help to deepen our understanding of the disaster. Specifically, the volume examines ways in which gender and sexuality issues have been largely ignored in the emerging post-Katrina literature. The voices of young racial and ethnic minorities growing up in post-Katrina New Orleans also rise to the surface as they discuss their outlook on future employment. Environmental inequities and the slow pace of recovery for many parts of the city are revealed through narrative accounts from volunteers helping to rebuild. Scholars, who were themselves impacted, tell personal stories of trauma, displacement, and recovery as they connect their biographies to a larger social context. These insights into the day-to-day lives of survivors over the past ten years help illuminate the complex disaster recovery process and provide key lessons for all-too-likely future disasters. How do experiences of recovery vary along several axes of difference? Why are some able to recover quickly while others struggle? What is it like to live in a city recovering from catastrophe and what are the prospects for the future? Through on-the-ground observation and keen sociological analysis, Rethinking Disaster Recovery answers some of these questions and suggests interesting new avenues for research.
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