They Could See Stars from their Beds: The Plight of the Rural Poor in the Aftermath of Hurricane Hugo

Miller, Kristen S.
Simile, Catherine
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Disaster Research Center
Charles Fritz (1961) once noted that disasters are natural laboratories for studying underlying social processes. In September of 1989, Hurricane Hugo swept upon the South Carolina coast, creating havoc for many who lived there. Following the devastation of that storm, many groups organized themselves around what they saw as significant problems produced by or aggravated by the storm. The purpose of this paper is to look at how certain groups came to define and own particular social problems and what the consequences of those definitions have been for action. More specifically, it argues that those groups who are in positions which are more visible and powerful are able to define, describe, and own social problems in ways convenient to their interests, goals, and/or underlying organizing ideologies.
Hurricane , Hugo , social problems