Catastrophe: Law, Politics, and the Humanitarian Impulse

Catastrophe: Law, Politics, and the Humanitarian Impulse

by Austin Sarat
     
 

ISBN-10: 1558497382

ISBN-13: 9781558497382

Pub. Date: 12/31/2009

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press

From 9/11 to Katrina, from Darfur to the Minnesota bridge collapse, ours is an "age of catastrophe." In this era, catastrophic events seem to have a revelatory quality: they offer powerful reminders of the fragility of our social and institutional architectures, making painfully evident vulnerabilities in our social organization that were otherwise invisible.

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Overview

From 9/11 to Katrina, from Darfur to the Minnesota bridge collapse, ours is an "age of catastrophe." In this era, catastrophic events seem to have a revelatory quality: they offer powerful reminders of the fragility of our social and institutional architectures, making painfully evident vulnerabilities in our social organization that were otherwise invisible. By disrupting the operation of fundamental mechanisms and infrastructures of the social order, they lay bare the conditions that make our sense of normalcy possible.

At a time when societies are directing an unprecedented level of resources and ingenuity to anticipating and mitigating catastrophic events, Catastrophe: Law, Politics, and the Humanitarian Impulse examines the tests that catastrophe poses to politics and humanitarianism as well as to the law. It explores legal, political, and humanitarian responses during times when the sudden, discontinuous, and disastrous event has become, perhaps paradoxically, a structural component of our political imagination. It asks whether law, politics, and humanitarianism live up to the tests posed by disaster, and the role all of them play in creating a more resilient world.

Taken together the essays in this book ask us to see through and beyond the myths that surround catastrophe and our responses to it. They ask us to rethink our understanding of catastrophe and to imagine new legal, political, and humanitarian responses.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Thomas Birkland, Michele Landis Dauber, Kim Fortun, Edward Rackley, Peter Redfield, Peter H. Schuck, and Susan Sterett.

University of Massachusetts Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558497382
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
12/31/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Challenge of Crisis and Catastrophe in Law and Politics Austin Sarat Javier Lezaun 1

1 Crisis and Catastrophe in Science, and Politics: Mapping the Terrain Peter H. Schuck 19

2 The Real Third Rail of American Politics Michele Landis Dauber 60

3 New Orleans Everywhere: Bureaucratic Accountability and Housing Policy after Katrina Susan M. Sterett 83

4 Emergency Management and the Courts in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina Thomas A. Birkland 116

5 Environmental Right-to-Know and the Trasmutations of Law Kim Fortun 146

6 Reintegration, or the Explosive Remnants of War Peter Redfield Edward B. Rackley 172

Notes on Contributors 193

Index 195

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