Neither government programs nor massive charitable efforts responded adequately to the human crisis that was Hurricane Katrina. In this study, the authors use extensive interviews with Katrina evacuees and reports from service providers to identify what helped or hindered the reestablishment of the lives of hurricane survivors who relocated to Austin, Texas. Drawing on social capital and social network theory, the authors assess the complementary, and often conflicting, roles of FEMA, other governmental agencies and a range of non-governmental organizations in addressing survivors' short- and longer-term needs. While these organizations came together to assist with immediate emergency needs, even collectively they could not deal with survivors' long-term needs for employment, affordable housing and personal records necessary to rebuild lives. Community Lost provides empirical evidence that civil society organizations cannot substitute for an efficient and benevolent state, which is necessary for society to function.
Ronald J. Angel is Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Holly Bell is Research Scientist at the Center for Social Work Research in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin. Julie Beausoleil is an Affiliate Research Associate with the Center for Social Work Research in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas Austin. Laura Lein is Dean and Katherine Reebel Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.
1. After the storm: the state, civil society, and the response to Katrina; 2. An emerging methodology for a crisis situation; 3. Life before the storm: the old community; 4. Evacuation and arrival in Austin; 5. The limited transportability of social capital; 6. NGOs and the grassroots response; 7. The state and basic welfare: housing, employment, and identification; 8. Health care and the limitations of society; 9. The new social contract: the state, civil society, and social capital.