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Webpages "Understanding Katrina" and "The Privatization of Risk"

Updated on 29/01/2014 by José Manuel Mendes

These two webpages, hosted by the Social Science Research Council, are platforms for sharing information and debating ideas on issues of risk, as well as on the causes, impact and aftermath of hurricane Katrina in the US. The Social Science Research Council is a New York based nonprofit organisation devoted to the development of social science research and scholarship oriented to practical intervention in public policies and the public space.

The two websites offer a collection of thematic articles authored by prestigious social scientists. The site dedicated to hurricane Katrina gathers highly relevant contributions on issues related to disasters, prevention, emergency resources, as well as the economic, social and political implications of catastrophes and similar events. As explicitly stated in the presentation, the aim is to mobilize knowledge that extends beyond “natural disaster,” “engineering failures” or similar categories of interpretation, and place at the centre of the debate the processes of discrimination, inequality, and differentiated access to full citizenship that underlie events of this nature. Of the available articles, particular attention should be given to those by Steve Lukes and James Jasper.
In turn, “The Privatisation of Risk” website aims to analyse, by using primarily an economic approach, the almost inexorable trend to roll back state provision of public goods and the resulting production of policies and narratives around the virtues of private initiative. Special attention should be given to the texts written by Leslie McCall and Jacob Hacker.

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