Solidarity Trumps Catastrophe? An Empirical and Analytical Analysis of Post-Tsunami Media in Two Western Nations

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Disaster Research Center
This paper explores how newspaper accounts in Sweden and the United States, two geographically non-impacted nations, frame the short term response and recovery phase of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Utilizing 594 newspaper articles from four of the largest print media sources in Sweden (n= 370) and the United States (n= 224) we code for social solidarity, donor relief, geographic location as well as emergent themes salient in explaining how social solidarity is fostered and maintained. We find that social solidarity in geographically non-impacted nations was fostered through an intensively narrow and nativist focus and maintained through a collective response of assistance. Findings support Durkheim’s ([1893] 1997) theory of social solidarity but go beyond prior descriptive theoretical accounts by offering a predictive theory of social solidarity.
Tsunami-Case Studies, Mass Media, Social Response, Disaster Relief, Disaster Recovery