School of Social Work:
Room 3.212D
Phone: (512) 471-9248
Fax: (512) 471-9514
E-Mail: lein@mail.utexas.edu

Mailing Address:
University of Texas
School of Social Work
1 University Station D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358

 
 
with dual appointment in the Department of Anthropology

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Katrina Evacuees

Principal Investigator: Ronald Angel
Co-PIs: Laura Lein, Elizabeth Pomeroy, Loretta Pyles, Calvin Streeter

The proposed research employs insights from various theoretical perspectives to enhance our understanding of how governmental and non-governmental agencies enhance or impede the resiliency of disaster victims and contribute to individuals' and families' ability to deal with grief and loss and to adapt to new and greatly altered circumstances. This national experience with Katrina indicates that the devolution of services to the most local level has real limitations. The crisis provides the opportunity to better understand the complementary roles of government, civil society, and the smaller informal networks composed of relatives and friends in the response to crisis.

The data that will be collected as part of this project relate to the period most proximate to the disaster and represent an invaluable baseline on which future research can build. In preparation for a longer-term project the research team is in the process of identifying and contacting a diverse panel of evacuees to Texas that will be followed over time. The panel of evacuees will be selected according to a structured sampling grid based on race and ethnicity and socio-economic status. Ethnographically oriented interviews will cover families' activities prior to the storm, and their activities and movements during the storm and afterwards. While every effort will be made to elicit a complete and coherent narrative, the interviews will emphasize contact with all forms of assistance including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and more informal community and kin networks. The team will build a qualitative data base for content and formal analysis. The analysis will explore the diversity of ways in which evacuees sought and received help, and how their strategies related both to their race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, their personal resources and the eventual outcomes. The project plans for on-going follow-up with evacuees over the coming year. The study will be conducted in Austin, Texas, which houses a substantial population of evacuees and sponsors a range of helping organizations.