Friday, April 24, 2015
Social Sciences, Room 415
"Children of Katrina: Vulnerability, Resilience, and Post-Disaster Recovery"
Associate Professor of Sociology
Colorado State University
When children experience upheaval and trauma, adults often view them as either vulnerable and helpless or as resilient and able to easily “bounce back.” But the reality is far more complex for the children and youth whose lives are suddenly upended by disaster. How are children actually affected by catastrophic events and how do they cope with the damage and disruption? This presentation will describe one of the only long-term, multiyear ethnographic studies of young people following a natural disaster. For seven years after Hurricane Katrina, sociologists Lori Peek and Alice Fothergill interviewed and observed several hundred children and their family members, friends, neighbors, teachers, and other caregivers. In their work, they focus on how Katrina affected children’s individual health and well-being, family situations, housing and neighborhood contexts, schooling, peer relationships, and extracurricular activities. The work ultimately identifies three post-disaster recovery patterns, the Declining Trajectory, the Finding Equilibrium Trajectory, and the Fluctuating Trajectory, and elucidates the social forces and factors that influenced these patterns.
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