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Journal Article

Rising to the Challenges of a Catastrophe: The Emergent and Prosocial Behavior following Hurricane Katrina

Havidán Rodríguez, Joseph Trainor and Enrico L. Quarantelli
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 604, Shelter from the Storm: Repairing the National Emergency Management System after Hurricane Katrina (Mar., 2006), pp. 82-101
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25097782
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rising to the Challenges of a Catastrophe: The Emergent and Prosocial Behavior following Hurricane Katrina
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Abstract

Using several data sources including an extensive database of media reports and a series of government documents, but relying primarily on the University of Delaware's Disaster Research Center's field research in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the authors describe the nontraditional behavior that emerged in that catastrophe. They also discuss the prosocial behavior (much of it emergent) that was by far the primary response to this event, despite widespread media reports of massive antisocial behavior. Their study focuses on individual and group reactions in Louisiana during the first three weeks following the hurricane. The authors limit their systematic analyses of emergent behavior to five groupings: hotels, hospitals, neighborhood groups, rescue teams, and the Joint Field Office. Their analysis shows that most of the improvisations undertaken helped in dealing with the various problems that continued to emerge following Katrina. The various social systems and the people in them rose to the demanding challenges of a catastrophe.

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