The Culture of Catastrophe

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The Culture of Catastrophe
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10.5446/9342 (DOI)
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Niepytalska, Marta
Hahn, Alec
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Carson Fellow Sherry Johnson spezialisiert sich sowohl auf Lateinamerika als auch auf Umweltgeschichte und die Geschichte von Desastern. Sie untersucht die Kulturen, die entstehen, nachdem eine Gesellschaft von einer Katastrophe getroffen wurde. Eines ihrer Ergebnisse ist, dass „Katastrophen Grenzen verschwinden lassen, gesellschaftliche Abgrenzungen sich verändern.“ Jemand von niedrigerem Status kann zum Beispiel in einem Moment der Katastrophe zu einem höheren Status aufsteigen, wenn er sich auf bestimmte Weise verhält und so zum Helden wird. In einer Gemeinschaft mit unterschiedlichen Ethnien kann so der Status, der auf der Ethnizität basiert, verschwinden. Dies betrifft natürlich auch die Behörden, die aus einer Katastrophe als Feiglinge hervorgehen können und in Folge dessen verpönt werden, oder die daraus als Helden hervorgehen und die man in Gedichten und Liedern positiv in Erinnerung behält. Wenn es darum geht, Helden zu erschaffen, „können Desaster tatsächlich positive Aspekte aufweisen“. Prof. Dr. Johnson ist Direktorin der Academic Programs for the Latin American and Caribbean Center an der Florida International University in Miami.
Carson Fellow Sherry Johnson specializes in Latin American and environmental history and the history of disasters. She examines the culture that develops after a disaster has hit a society. One of her findings is that “disasters will make boundaries go away, will make social boundaries change.” Someone of lower status, for example, can rise to a higher status in a disaster circumstance when he or she behaves in a certain way and becomes a hero. In a community with mixed ethnicities the status based on ethnicity disappears. This also applies to the authorities, who can come out of a catastrophe as cowards who are frowned upon, or who can come out of it as heroes who will be remembered in poems and songs. When it comes to creating heroes, “disasters can have actual positive aspects.” Prof. Dr. Johnson is Director of Academic Programs for the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University in Miami.
Keywords Kulturen der Katastrophe Kulturen des Desasters Ethnizität Desaster Katastrophe catastrophe disaster ethnicity culture of disaster culture of catastrophe
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