Insult to Injury: Disaster Displacement, Migrant Threat Perception, and Conflict in Host Communities   [open pdf - 3MB]

"Environmental disasters are complex problems not only for the communities directly hit but also for areas that receive the people forced out of their homes. In developing nations, this situation is called internal displacement and is recognized internationally as a protection and security problem similar to refugee flows. Wealthier countries like the United States, however, have not yet acknowledged similar concerns domestically. This thesis explores the right to freedom of movement, the potential for conflict and weakened social cohesion in post-disaster settings, and the ways American communities can identify these challenges and avoid perceiving fellow citizens as threats to stability. Through the examination of three historical case studies--Dust Bowl migrants, Hurricane Katrina evacuees, and victims of recent wildfires in California--this research explores sociological processes leading to outgroup definition, resource competition, and attempts to scapegoat displaced people. The synthesis of these experiences concludes with a new disaster-displacement model identifying factors and circumstances that amplify or mitigate threat perception by host communities and the vulnerability of migrant citizens. A central concern appears to be how newcomers exacerbate existing local problems and fit into familiar narrative frames; one forward-looking tool is the development of a U.S. policy on internally displaced persons."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: https://calhoun.nps.edu/
Media Type:
Cohort CA1805/1806
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