Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-n6p7q Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-25T05:57:23.431Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Culpability, Social Triage, and Structural Violence in the Aftermath of Katrina

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 August 2012

William Paul Simmons
Affiliation:
Arizona State University, william.simmons@asu.edu
Monica J. Casper
Affiliation:
Arizona State University, monica.casper@asu.edu

Abstract

Hurricane Katrina and its effects are often talked about in terms of what has been made visible, as if the hurricane swept through and stripped away our structural blinders along with the levees, revealing social disparities within. Here, we focus instead on whom and what Katrina and its aftermath have rendered invisible. We are concerned with how the seen and the not seen have influenced the ways the purported tabula rasa of New Orleans has been (re)constructed and marked since 2005. We engage with recent debates in political science about power, agency, structure, and culpability, arguing that efforts to prioritize the pursuit of culpability over critique in power analyses, such as the approach advocated by Steven Lukes, risk perpetuating structural violence. We employ the concepts of an ocular ethic and social triage to understand why the storm of the century that was supposed to reveal all has in the end left much concealed, with shocking levels of human devastation unaddressed. Only through careful excavation of the ruins can we begin to comprehend the sedimented inequality and layers of vulnerability that structure violence.

Type
Reflections
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Bachrach, Peter, and Baratz, Morton. 1962. “Two Faces of Power.” American Political Science Review 56(4): 947–52.Google Scholar
Baker, Liv. 1996. The Second Battle of New Orleans: The Hundred-Year Struggle to Integrate the Schools. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
Ball, Terence. 1976. “Review of S. Lukes, Power and J. Nagel, The Descriptive Analysis of Power.” Political Theory 4: 246–9.Google Scholar
Bates, Stephen R. 2010. “Re-Structuring Power.” Polity 42(3): 352376.Google Scholar
Berger, John. 2005. “Ignorance and Abdication that Amounts to Madness: All Political Leaders Sometimes Parry with the Truth, but with Bush the Disconnections are Systematic.” The Guardian (September 14). (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/15/usa.comment), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Blytheway, Bill. 2007. “The Evacuation of Older People: The Case of Hurricane Katrina.” Presented at the Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers, London. (http://understandingkatrina.ssrc.org/Bytheway), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Bob, Clifford. 2005. The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Breunlin, Rachel, and Regis, Helen A.. 2006. “Putting the Ninth Ward on the Map: Race, Place, and Transformation in Desire, New Orleans.” American Anthropologist 108(4): 744–64.Google Scholar
Brezina, Timothy. 2008. “What Went Wrong in New Orleans? An Examination of the Welfare Dependency Explanation.” Social Problems 55(1): 2342.Google Scholar
Brezina, Timothy., and Phipps, Herbert E. Jr. 2009. “False News Reports, Folk Devils, and the Role of Public Officials: Notes on the Social Construction of Law and Order in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” Deviant Behavior 31(1): 97134.Google Scholar
Britt, Russ. 2011. “New Orleans Business: Most Improved in 2011.” Wall Street Journal. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-orleans-business-most-improved-in-2011-2011-12-13?pagenumber=1), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Bullard, Robert. 2009. “The Color of Toxic Debris.” The American Prospect (February 16). (http://prospect.org/article/color-toxic-debris), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Burnett, John. 2005. “Evacuees Were Turned Away at Gretna, La.” NPR: Morning Edition, September 20. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4855611), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Cameron, Drew. 2011. “The Consequences of Rationing Antiretroviral Treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The Journal of International Service 20(1): 118.Google Scholar
Casper, Monica J., and Moore, Lisa Jean. 2009. Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Crum, Matt. 2011. “New Orleans Trip is Eye-Opening Experience for Students.” ASU News (June 21). (http://asunews.asu.edu/20110621_neworleans), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Derber, Charles. 2006. The Wilding of America: Money, Mayhem, and the New American Dream. New York, N.Y.: Worth Publishers.Google Scholar
Dr. John and the Lower 911. 2008. City that Care Forgot. Santa Monica, CA: 429 Records.Google Scholar
Eggler, Bruce. 2007. “Bridge Blockade after Katrina Remains Divisive Issue” The Times-Picayune (September 1). (http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/09/bridge_blockade_after_katrina.html), accessed May 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Elster, Jon. 1983. Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Farmer, Paul. 2003. Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor. Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Fassin, Didier, and Pandolfi, Mariella, eds. 2010. Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
Friedersdorf, Conor. 2011. “Rush Limbaugh's Needlessly Divisive Speech in Joplin, Mo.” The Atlantic, July 7, 2011. Available at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/07/rush-limbaughs-needlessly-divisive-speech-in-joplin-mo/241533/.Google Scholar
Galtung, Johan. 1969. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6(3): 167191.Google Scholar
Giroux, Henry A. 2006. “Reading Hurricane Katrina: Race, Class, and the Biopolitics of Disposability.” College Literature 33(3): 171–90.Google Scholar
Gisleson, Anne, and Thompson, Tristan, eds. 2010. How to Rebuild a City: Field Guide from a Work in Progress. New Orleans, LA: Press Street Press.Google Scholar
Glumm, Karen, and Johnson, Jennifer D.. 2001. “Creating the ‘Unfit’: Social Darwinism or Social Triage? Constructing a Supply of Patients in Private Psychiatric Hospitals.” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 37(2): 154–79.Google Scholar
Gotham, Kevin Fox. 2007. Authentic New Orleans: Tourism, Culture, and Race in the Big Easy. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Gould, Amy E. 2007. “Katrina and Colonialism: The Sins of Our Forefathers Perpetuated?Administrative Theory & Praxis 29(4): 513–33.Google Scholar
Grusky, David B., and Ryo, Emily. 2006. “Did Katrina Recalibrate Attitudes toward Poverty and Inequality? A Test of the ‘Dirty Little Secret’ Hypothesis.” Du Bois Review 3(1): 5982.Google Scholar
Hayward, Clarissa Rile. 2000. De-Facing Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hayward, Clarissa Rile. 2006. “On Power and Responsibility.” Political Studies Review 4(2): 156163.Google Scholar
Hayward, Clarissa Rile., and Lukes, Steven. 2008. “Nobody to Shoot? Power, Structure and Agency: A Dialogue.” Journal of Power 1(1): 520.Google Scholar
Herring, Cedric. 2006. “Hurricane Katrina and the Racial Gulf: A Du Boisian Analysis of Victims' Experiences.” Du Bois Review 3(1): 129–44.Google Scholar
Hopkins, Daniel J.Flooded Communities: Explaining Local Reactions to the Post-Katrina Migrants.” Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming.Google Scholar
Huddy, Leonie, and Feldman, Stanley. 2006. “Worlds Apart: Blacks and Whites React to Hurricane Katrina.” Du Bois Review 3(1): 97113.Google Scholar
Isaac, Jeffrey C. 1987a. “Beyond the Three Faces of Power: A Realist Critique.” Polity 20(1): 431.Google Scholar
Isaac, Jeffrey C. 1987b. Power and Marxist Theory: A Realist View. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Kao, Grace. 2006. “Where are the Asian and Hispanic Victims of Katrina? A Metaphor of Invisible Minorities in Contemporary Racial Discourse.” Du Bois Review 3(1): 223–31.Google Scholar
Klein, Naomi. 2005. “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” The Nation (May 2): 9–11.Google Scholar
Lennon, John, and Foley, Malcolm. 2000. Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Disaster. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
Lord, Janet E., Waterstone, Michael E., and Stein, Michael Ashley. 2009. “Natural Disasters and People with Disabilities.” In Law and Recovery from Disaster: Hurricane Katrina, ed. Malloy, Robin Paul. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.Google Scholar
Luft, Rachel E. 2008. “Looking for Common Ground: Relief Work in Post-Katrina New Orleans as an American Parable of Race and Gender Violence.” Feminist Formations 20(3): 531.Google Scholar
Lukes, Stephen. 1974. Power: A Radical View. London: MacMillan.Google Scholar
Lukes, Stephen. 2002. “Power and Agency.” The British Journal of Sociology 53: 491–96.Google Scholar
Lukes, Stephen. 2005. Power: A Radical View. 2nd ed.New York: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
Lukes, Stephen. 2006. “Questions About Power: Lessons from the Louisiana Hurricane.” Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences (June 11). (http://understandingkatrina.ssrc.org/Lukes/), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Mildenberg, David. 2011. “Census Finds Hurricane Katrina Left New Orleans Richer, Whiter, Emptier.” Bloomberg (February 3). (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-04/census-finds-post-katrina-new-orleans-richer-whiter-emptier.html), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. 2005. Watching Babylon: the War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Morriss, Peter. 2002. Power: A Philosophical Analysis. 2nd ed.New York: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
Pham Bui, Trang. 2011. “Memories of Katrina Help Pump-up Blood Donations.” WLOX (August 29). (http://www.wlox.com/story/15354903/memories-of-katrina-help-pump-up-blood-donations), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Plaw, Avery. 2007. “Lukes's Three-Dimensional Model of Power Redux: Is it Still Compelling?Social Theory and Practice 33(3): 489500.Google Scholar
Rose, Chris. 2005. “I Am Traumaticalized.” The Times-Picayune (December 16). (http://www.nola.com/rose/index.ssf/2005/12/i_am_traumaticalized.html), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Ryan, Thomas F. 2008. “Vision and Spirituality in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” Seattle Journal for Social Justice 7(1): 101–25.Google Scholar
Schleifstein, Mark. 2011. “Old Gentilly Landfill Is Not the Environmental Disaster That Was Feared.” The Times-Picayune (November 6). (http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/11/old_gentilly_landfill_is_not_t.html), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Schneider, Anne, and Ingram, Helen. 1993. “Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy.” American Political Science Review 87(2): 334347.Google Scholar
Scott, James C. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857).Google Scholar
Simmons, William Paul. 2011. Human Rights Law and the Marginalized Other. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sjoberg, Gideon, Vaughan, Ted R., and Williams, Norma. 1984. “Bureaucracy as a Moral Issue.” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 20(4): 441–53.Google Scholar
Sommers, Samuel R., Apfelbaum, Evan P., Dukes, Kristin N., Toosi, Negin, and Wang, Elsie J.. 2006. “Race and Media Coverage of Hurricane Katrina: Analysis, Implications, and Future Research Questions.” Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy 6(1): 2955.Google Scholar
Spielman, David G. 2007. Katrinaville Chronicles: Images and Observations from a New Orleans Photographer. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
Stevens, Maurice. 2011. “Trauma's Essential Bodies.” In Corpus: An Interdisciplinary Reader on Bodies and Knowledge, eds. Casper, Monica J. and Currah, Paisley. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Sze, Julie. 2006. “Toxic Soup Redux: Why Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Matter after Katrina.” In Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences. (http://understandingkatrina.ssrc.org/Sze/), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar
Urry, John. 2002. The Tourist Gaze. 2nd ed.London: Sage.Google Scholar
Voorhees, Courte C.W., Vick, John, and Perkins, Douglas D.. 2007. “‘Came Hell and High Water’: The Intersection of Hurricane Katrina, the News Media, Race and Poverty.” Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 17(6): 415429.Google Scholar
Young, Abe Louise. 2010. “The Voices of Hurricane Katrina, Part I: What Are the Ethics of Poetic Appropriation?” In Poetry Foundation. (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/239906), accessed April 7, 2012.Google Scholar