Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Lala Steelman

Abstract

This study examines the processes through which race, class, and gender power relationships were reproduced in housing recovery after Hurricane Katrina in communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. An intersectional framework guided the conceptualization of race, class and gender as interdependent and overlapping constructs situated within social, historical, and cultural contexts. In-depth interviews with 32 front-line recovery workers in non-governmental organizations provide the perspective for the exploration of inequalities in accessibility to safe, affordable, quality housing. These workers provide a unique perspective as 'outsiders within'--situated between the vulnerable populations still seeking assistance at the time of the interviews 2-3 years after Katrina and the powerful forces of a government/corporate/elite alliance that steered recovery funds. Through the voices of the front-line recovery workers, I found that affordable housing remained the most pressing need among socially vulnerable residents, that affordable housing was not a priority among local and state government and corporate elites, that assistance programs were not designed for accessibility to vulnerable populations, and that residents occupying intersecting positions of disadvantage had limited access to resources to recover successfully.

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