The Local Lens: Conceptualizing Vulnerability through the use of Photovoice

Authors: Diamond Holloman*, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Qualitative Methods, Environmental Justice
Keywords: Photovoice, qualitative, disaster, vulnerability
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Utilizing the aftermath of Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018) in Robeson County, North Carolina as a case study, this paper 1) examines the relationship between aid and relief projects and vulnerability in African-American and Native American (Lumbee) neighborhoods and 2) makes the case for the utility of photovoice in disaster and post-disaster landscapes. This project asks: in what ways can reconceptualizing disaster recovery through the "local lens" help us better understand and respond to lived experiences of disaster recovery for already marginalized communities? Using photovoice and semi-structured interviews, this paper shows the sociality of being situated in more flood-prone areas and being subjected to less financial aid and fewer resources in response to hurricanes. This dual form of ecological and social erosion of local response capacity makes it harder for these communities to successfully recover, which disaster scholars have indeed noted. However, through photovoice, we are able to grasp at a more visceral understanding of this pattern, as well as the ways in which communities vision for their futures.

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