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Posts from the ‘Blog’ Category

What Use Is Disaster Planning? Hurricane Sandy’s “Fantasy Documents”

The sociologist Lee Clarke argues that many disaster plans should be understood primarily as “fantasy documents”. They have little probability of ever being implemented, and instead effectively serve to project confidence from the planners—to rhetorically “convince audiences that they ought to believe what an organization says” (Clark 1999: 2). The co-chair of one of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s post-Sandy commissions provided a similar perspective:

"On paper, there’s a lot of things that are written into policies that look like...we do have control over this. So we do have national and local planning documents and frameworks for making those kind of decisions and who’s in charge. I think my conclusion is that all of that is somewhat delusional.... We are basically kidding ourselves when it comes to really defining how we’re going to operate in a disaster. There are just too many conflicting interests—some of which are even constitutionally or legislatively in stone in a sense—and we can’t really adapt well when a disaster comes."

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Disaster Data and Representations of Superstorm Sandy

How data is collected influences the data received, and thus the conclusions that can be drawn about the nature and extent of the disaster. Results start, in the case of canvassing, before canvasers get to the door. While both grassroots responses such as Occupy Sandy and governing institutions such as the City of New York collected data in an effort to match immediate needs and aid, their canvasing forms and "clipboard politics" differed.

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Beyond Divine Wrath: How Religious Leaders on the Ground Interpreted Sandy

In the United States, we're used to media coverage of evangelical leaders who say that particular disasters reflect divine will. But what did local Christian leaders say after Superstorm Sandy hit New York City?

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Notes from SRL Research Salon III

Several attendees questioned how others were measuring recovery, and whether preliminary findings demonstrate that recovery has been equally distributed. Generally, attendees thought that Sandy had revealed existent inequalities such as high unemployment, lack of educational opportunity, low levels of affordable housing, and insufficient infrastructure.

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What is a mutual aid research collective?

SRL is comprised of twelve researchers from different universities working to change the way research is done by using a mutual aid model.

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