Journal of Public Management & Social Policy


After disasters, the recovery process is uneven, and often, the social vulnerability of populations before a disaster translates into a lack of access to political power after the event. This study proposes that a large-scale event presents an opportunity to overcome these challenges and improve social, economic, political, and environmental conditions for affected communities during the recovery process by involving advocates for traditionally marginalized community members in the recovery. Using textual analysis to code the testimony of 240 witnesses who testified in 41 congressional hearings held after Hurricane Katrina, witnesses who advocated for policies that addressed social inequities are identified and their proposals analyzed. Advocacy groups were well represented, comprising nearly 27 percent of the total witnesses at the congressional hearings, and addressed race, class, poverty, and the environment in recovery proposals. The proposals reflected a holistic recovery approach, incorporating ideas of sustainability, resilience, and considerations of social equity.



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