UC Boulder Social Vulnerability and Disaster of Brazil Research Paper -Complete the social vulnerability and disaster module(already completed). -Use the

UC Boulder Social Vulnerability and Disaster of Brazil Research Paper -Complete the social vulnerability and disaster module(already completed).

-Use the module content in order to get a background on the topic of social vulnerability and what constitutes as future research.

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(This will give you access to the converge website, which has the module “Social Vulnerability and Disasters.” which can be used to answer parts of the requirements below).

Find a research paper (published in a peer-reviewed journal) about a topic within the study of social vulnerability.
Identify the type of data used in the study, the method(s) used, the purpose of the study, and the major findings.
Describe how the study advances knowledge on social vulnerability. Identify whether or not the study meets any of the criteria of what should constitute “future research” identified in the Converge training module. Identify 2 strengths and weakness of the research paper. Explain your answers using at least 3 references from the course. These should be assigned readings from the text, or the posted articles/chapters. You are welcome to cite additional materials, but at least 3 need to come from the assigned readings. Environmental Sociology
ISSN: (Print) 2325-1042 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rens20
Using an intersectional approach to advance
understanding of homeless persons’ vulnerability
to disaster
Jamie Vickery
To cite this article: Jamie Vickery (2018) Using an intersectional approach to advance
understanding of homeless persons’ vulnerability to disaster, Environmental Sociology, 4:1,
136-147, DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2017.1408549
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/23251042.2017.1408549
Published online: 11 Dec 2017.
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VOL. 4, NO. 1, 136–147
Using an intersectional approach to advance understanding of homeless
persons’ vulnerability to disaster
Jamie Vickery
Natural Hazards Center, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
Too often groups deemed as ‘vulnerable’ are homogenized in terms of their characteristics
and experiences leading up to, during and after disaster. Although important exceptions
exist, the identities of members of marginalized groups such as homeless populations are
frequently homogenized in practice without regard for the intersecting traits and contextual
factors that result in unequal disaster and environmental outcomes. This paper explores the
utility of an intersectional approach to analyze the complexity of lived experiences within
homeless communities during disaster. I use qualitative methodologies, including unstructured and semi-structured interviews, focus groups and participant observation, to better
understand the intersecting identities of homeless participants and their experiences during
the 2013 Colorado floods. Throughout the paper, I argue for the merits of using intersectional
approaches to analyzing the complex lived experiences of vulnerable groups during disaster.
The conclusion presents a call for further integration of intersectional analyses into disaster
and environmental justice scholarship.
According to a 2016 US Department of Housing and
Urban Development report, there are roughly 550,000
people identified as homeless in the United States (U.
S. HUD 2016). Other annual estimates suggest that the
actual number of people experiencing homelessness is
around 3.5 million (Lurie and Schuster 2015). Despite
the prevalence of homelessness, there has been little
exploration of the disaster experiences of pre-disaster
homeless individuals and the factors that increase or
decrease their vulnerability to disaster and other environmental hazards (for exception, see Drabek 1999;
Phillips 1996; and Settembrino 2016). In an effort to
address this gap in the literature, this paper draws
upon the experiences of homeless individuals during
the 2013 Colorado floods. I move beyond homogenization of homeless individuals as a vulnerable group to
an acknowledgement of their unique intersectional
identities that combine to produce uneven outcomes
during and after disaster. Intersectionality provides a
critical lens by which to explore the interconnected,
overlapping systems of disadvantage and oppression,
as well as the intersecting identities of individuals and
populations on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender and
socioeconomic status, among other characteristics.
Disaster vulnerability, a form of environmental
injustice, originates from sociopolitical systems and
processes that produce inequality and increase people’s susceptibility to environmental hazards (Ryder,
2017). Environmental justice (EJ) processes, such as
residential discrimination and relegation of certain
CONTACT Jamie Vickery
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Received 24 February 2017
Accepted 21 November 2017
Disaster; environmental
justice; intersectionality;
homelessness; vulnerability
populations to hazardous areas by virtue of characteristics such as race, ethnicity and class status, result in
differential exposure to environmental hazards experienced by EJ communities. These same processes
increase disaster vulnerability by pushing certain
groups further to the margins and into hazardous
areas and structures and by making it difficult for
such populations to exercise agency in the face of
Disaster vulnerability and EJ scholarship both call
attention to the characteristics and processes that
place individuals at greater risk to disaster and environmental hazards (Crowder and Downey, 2010;
Cutter, Boruff, and Lynn Shirley, 2003; Mohai, Pellow,
and Roberts 2009; Tierney, 2006; Wisner et al., 2004).
However, in building on Ryder’s (2017) argument for
integrating intersectionality into EJ issues that include
disaster vulnerability, I contend that both subfields
would benefit from more integration of intersectional
approaches in studying vulnerability – both in developing a nuanced understanding of social vulnerability
and in advancing theory. Specifically, I maintain that
applying an intersectional analysis in exploring the
unique disaster vulnerabilities and capacities of homeless persons will result in a richer understanding of
the complex processes that create vulnerability.
Through use of an intracategorical approach to intersectional analysis, I show how individual-level characteristics intersect to produce uneven disaster
outcomes. Such research is essential for developing
more inclusive planning that acknowledges individuals’ intersecting disaster vulnerabilities and illuminates the processes of environmental injustice
experienced prior to disaster.
population, as Lurie and Schuster (2015: iv) contend,
‘facilitates their dehumanization’ and ‘encourages
erroneous negative stereotypes, assumptions, and
Homelessness and disaster vulnerability
Contextualizing homeless persons’ disaster
Vulnerability to disasters, as articulated by Wisner
et al. (2004:11), represents ‘the characteristics of a
person or group and their situation that influence
their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and
recover from the impact of a natural hazard’.
Disaster vulnerability research has demonstrated that
individuals may be more or less likely to prepare for,
respond to and recover from a disaster based on a
variety of factors such as social capital, financial capital and human capital (Enarson, 2007; Thomas et al.,
2013; Tierney, 2006). Although intersectional
approaches have been taken or suggested within disaster vulnerability scholarship (see David and Enarson,
2012; Phillips and Hearn Morrow, 2007; Ryder, 2017
and Weber and Peek, 2012; for examples), nuanced
understandings of intersecting identities and the contextual elements that shape lived experiences are
essential in further developing our knowledge of
uneven disaster outcomes.
Disaster scholarship typically characterizes homeless populations as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘functional-needs’
populations, though few studies have thoroughly
explored their disaster experiences and the diversity
of characteristics that make them more or less vulnerable to environmental hazards (for exceptions, see
Phillips, 1996; Settembrino, 2016; and Walters and
Gaillard, 2014). Care must be taken not to imply a
generalized identity across the homeless population
within the United States. However, a number of attributes are often associated with homelessness. High
rates of mental illness, including post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), physical disability and drug and alcohol addiction, represent very real and pervasive problems that exist within many homeless communities
and negatively skew societal perceptions of homeless
persons (Elvrum and Wong, 2012; Erikson, 1994;
Phillips and Morrow 2007; Wisner, 1998). Because of
their marginalized identity as ‘homeless’, these
women and men typically lack political efficacy and
the type of social capital on which they can draw for
material resources (e.g. money, shelter, access to
transportation and food).
Understandably perhaps, disaster plans referring to
homeless populations often homogenize them as ‘vulnerable’ but fail to account for the diversity that exists
within homeless communities. This overarching categorization is problematic, as homeless individuals possess a variety of attributes that can either enhance or
decrease their ability to respond and recover from a
disaster event. Such homogenization of the homeless
Intersectional scholars call for attention to the sociocultural context and processes that produce unequal
outcomes among individuals to gain a nuanced understanding of the structures that produce inequality
(Cuadraz and Uttal, 1999; Davis, 2008; Kaijser and
Kronsell, 2014). In situating homeless persons’ vulnerability as an outcome of unequal structural processes
rather than solely focusing on individual-level characteristics, we must acknowledge intersecting and contextual
factors such as the poor state of social safety net services, the privatization of public space and growing
poverty in the United States. For example, nonprofit
social service organizations, such as those that serve
homeless communities, are essential components of
the nation’s welfare system and a critical resource hub
during disaster (Chikoto, Sadiq, and Fordyce, 2012;
Ritchie and Tierney, 2008; Ritchie, Tierney, and Gilbert,
2010; Tierney, 2013). Acknowledging such factors
enhances our knowledge of the ways in which the
agency of homeless individuals is constrained and how
they experience marginalization that increases their vulnerability to disaster.
Despite their role in the lives of their clients, nonprofits are often un(der)prepared for disaster due to a
number of daily constraints that limit their ability to
plan (e.g. lack of funding, time, staff and other
resources) (Chikoto, Sadiq, and Fordyce, 2012; Ritchie,
Tierney, and Gilbert, 2010). Further, nonprofit social
service organizations function in an increasingly difficult environment as they struggle to keep up with a
growing population in need of services (Poppendieck,
2000; Tierney, 2013; Williams 2010). This is due a number of trends including, but not limited to, elevated
levels of poverty across the United States, growing
income inequality, decreases in public assistance, lack
of affordable housing and decreases in federal support
for low-income housing (Kneebone 2014; Kneebone
and Holmes, 2014; Lurie and Schuster, 2015; Williams
2010). These structural processes substantially limit
homeless-serving organizations (HSOs) in meeting the
daily needs of their clients and put them in a compromised position during disaster.
Cultural standards associated with concepts concerning who is a ‘deserving disaster victim’ and ‘citizen’ further stigmatize homelessness and exacerbate
homeless people’s vulnerability. Society frequently
‘others’ homeless persons by viewing and treating
them as ‘less than human’, ‘outside of the norm’ and
‘disposable’ (Elvrum and Wong, 2012; Erikson 1994;
Farrugia and Gerrad 2015; Giroux, 2006; Irvine, Kahl,
and Smith, 2012; Wisner, 1998). Snow and Mulcahy
(2001:151) situate the stigma surrounding homelessness within the context of the American ideal of
prosperity and work ethic, stating:
Perhaps most important of all, the existence of large
numbers of homeless individuals [seems] strikingly
discordant with the image of the United States as
the land of opportunity with a standard of living
among the highest in the world.
Indeed, cultural ideals of individual success and prosperity have the effect of further disenfranchising
homeless communities, producing stereotypes that
result in their stigmatization and leave them further
removed from society. Stigma, coupled with criminalization and privatization of public space, constrains
homeless persons in their daily lives and may have
debilitating effects during disaster (Phillips, 1996;
Snow and Mulcahy 2001). Disaster scholars have
found that the effects of homeless stigma can potentially limit them from accessing shelter and acquiring
resources (Fothergill and Peek 2004; Phillips, 1996;
Wisner, 1998).
Particularly as the privatization of public space
becomes more common (Mitchell and Staeheli,
2006), people experiencing homelessness are
restricted in their ability to find consistent and safe
shelter (Glyman and Rankin, 2016). Through policies,
urban design approaches and policing strategies such
as limits on public sleeping and panhandling, ‘tent
sweeps’, sleep-deterrent benches and floor studs,
camping bans and limits on the use of public spaces,
cities have tried to ‘eradicate’ homelessness in ways
that have the effect of criminalizing this population
(KGNU, 2015; Murray, 2016; Rosenberger, 2014; Spurr
2014). For instance, the City of Denver has been criticized for its efforts to eradicate homelessness in the
city and metro region through tent sweeps and confiscation of people’s property, including tents and
blankets, until Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
ordered a stop to such confiscation during the winter
months (Frank, 2016; The Associated Press, 2016).
Such laws, as Lurie and Schuster (2015:iv) argue, ‘are
evidence of systemic and insidious discrimination of
many marginalized groups’.
Unfortunately, homeless criminalization and privatization trends continue to proliferate in US society.
These trends are deeply connected to cultural ideals
of prosperity and individualism, which place the onus
on individuals to ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ and work their way out of homelessness. Once
depicted as a national social problem deserving of
attention through a broad array of social programs,
homelessness has transitioned to a problem seen as
most appropriately addressed through ‘anti-homeless’
legislation and policy (National Coalition for the
Homeless, 2009; National Law Center on
Homelessness and Poverty 2014). Stigma and criminalization result in marginalization of homeless persons
both socially and physically by further disconnecting
them from communities and effectively pushing them
to isolated, hazard-prone areas.
Individual-level attributes, coupled with trends in
criminalization and a decrease in supply of affordable
housing, push homeless and extremely poor people
further to the margins, limiting options for shelter.
Environmental injustice in the form of anti-homeless
laws, policies and practices forces homeless persons
out of public spaces and into often hazardous locales,
such as freeway underpasses, riverbanks and wooded
mountainous areas (City of Seattle, 2017; Hawthorne,
2015; Suggs and Cook, 2017). By framing these experiences as an issue of EJ, I follow arguments of other
scholars who maintain that disaster vulnerability is
inherently related to EJ in that the root causes of
vulnerability overlap with processes that produce
environmental injustice (Cutter, 2006; Ryder, 2017;
Tierney 2007). Intersectional frameworks have the
potential to bridge disaster vulnerability and EJ scholarship in a way that calls attention to the underlying
processes that intersect to produce unequal exposure
to environmental risks (Ryder, 2017).
Understanding and applying intersectionality
As an analytical approach, intersectionality is
embedded in a variety of disciplinary traditions; however, the term ‘intersectionality’ is commonly
accepted as having originated from legal scholar
Kimberle Crenshaw (1989; 1991), who argued that
black women have experienced overlapping gender
and racial discrimination not recognized in the interpretation of anti-discrimination law in the US court
system (Penner and Saperstein, 2013). Moving beyond
feminist research that homogenized the experiences
of all women to accounting for intersecting identities
and overlapping oppressions that produce unequal
outcomes among women, the concept addressed
the lack of examination within anti-racist and feminist
discourses of the unique experiences of women of
color (Collins, 1989; Collins, 2011; Crenshaw, 1989;
Davis, 2008). Intersectional approaches seek to capture comprehensively the complexity of individuals
lived experiences by not treating individual identities
such as gender and race as ‘exclusive or separable’
(Crenshaw, 1991). Demonstrating the inadequacy of
additive approaches in understanding marginalization, Cronin and King (2010:879) explain, ‘[a]lthough
not denying the existence of such inequalities, such a
perspective fails to address the meshing together of
these or any other inequalities within everyday life
and wider social and political structures’.
Despite the theoretical and analytical progress
made through the inclusion of intersectional thought,
many questions and disputes exist regarding its theoretical, analytical and methodological clarity and
rigor (Choo and Ferree, 2010; Davis, 2008; McCall,
2005; Collins, 2011). For example, questions remain
regarding which social categories to include in analyses and how to define them, whether intersectional
approaches should focus on identity or social structures and if intersectionality should be used as a
resource for facilitating empowerment. While some
may argue that intersectionality’s ambiguity and lack
of clarity is a pitfall for its applicability in social science
theory, others maintain that such a characteristic is
beneficial for developing theory and advancing social
inequality scholarship (Davis, 2008). Davis (2008:77)
argues that there are advantages to the lack of clarity
around the concept, stating:
It is precisely because intersectionality is so imperfect–ambiguous and open-ended–that it has been so
productive for contemporary feminist scholarship. Its
lack of clear-cut definition or even specific parameters
has enabled it to be drawn upon in nearly any context of inquiry.
Some argue further that there should not necessarily be a
common methodology for intersectional analysis – that
‘the methods always need to be adapted to the specific
context or case under study’ (Kaijser and Kronsell, 2014).
Throughout this paper, I will follow the definition
of intersectionality provided by Davis (2008:68), which
states that ‘[i]ntersectionality refers to the interaction
between gender, race, and other categories of difference in individual lives, social practices, institutional
arrangements, and cultural ideologies and the outcomes of these interactions in terms of power’.
Analytically, I use what McCall (2005) describes as an
intracategorical complexity approach to managing the
complexity of intersectional analysis (similar to Choo
and Ferree (2010) ‘group-centered’ approach). McCall
(2005:1773) conceptually describes this approach as
falling in the ‘middle of the continuum’ in studies of
intersectionality between anticategorical approaches,
which reject categories, and intercategorical
approaches that ‘[use] them strategically’ to examine
inequities among different groups. The intracategorical complexity approach enables me to assess the
unique and complex lived experiences of a single
group (individuals experiencing homelessness) and
how their intersecting identities culminate in various
patterns of vulnerability to disaster. A question guiding this paper, therefore, is if and to what extent
intersectionality is a useful mode of analysis for understanding homeless persons’ vulnerabilities and capacities in the disaster context. And if so, how could
intersectionality improve our understanding of other
groups’ social vulnerability and capacity to disaster?
Methodology and study context
The data pr…
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