WIT Press


Social Vulnerability And Political Advocacy After Hurricane Katrina

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/SD151042

Volume

168

Pages

12

Page Range

1213 - 1224

Published

2015

Size

304 kb

Author(s)

T. Buhler Corbin

Abstract

Hurricane Katrina elucidated governmental failures and existing inequities in the affected areas, thus creating an opportunity for policy advocates for historically marginalized populations who rank high on the social vulnerability index to participate in the political process. Using discourse analysis to code the testimony of 240 witnesses who testified in 41 congressional hearings held after Hurricane Katrina, witnesses who advocated for policies that addressed social inequities are identified and their proposals analyzed. Findings indicate that advocates raised contentious issues of race, poverty, environmental justice, and climate change in recovery proposals. Proposals incorporated ideas of sustainability, resilience, and considerations of social equity, representing a significant departure from previous congressional advocacy after disasters. This research increases our understanding of policy change after disasters, particularly the circumstances under which policy advocates can elevate socioeconomic issues to the political agenda.

Keywords

Hurricane Katrina, congressional policy advocacy, social vulnerability, race, poverty, environmental justice, sustainability, resilience