Power, Resistance, and Change: (Disaster) Sociology in the Trump Era

Presented at the Annual Meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Problems – August 13, 2017

Marc R. Settembrino, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Southeastern Louisiana University

The idea for this paper came shortly after January 20, 2017. Like so many of you, I was riding the proverbial emotional roller coaster. I was high from a weekend of protest and solidarity, but dreading the months and years ahead.

It was also time to commit to a topic for this year’s meetings, so, I put together the following abstract:

Disaster sociologists and our colleagues in other social science disciplines have provided critical examinations of how social inequality produces and is reproduced by “man-made” and “natural” disasters.  Due to our long and symbiotic relationship with the Federal government, American disaster sociologists have been influential in shaping the way that government agencies prepare for and respond to disasters. However, today our relationship and influence seems uncertain. Though unpredictable, this paper examines the future of disaster sociology within the context of the Trump administration. Specifically, this paper examines the challenges that disaster researchers face in political climate dominated by austerity, “alternative facts”, and uncertainty. In this paper, I propose strategies through which disaster sociologists can resist and subvert attempts to obfuscate knowledge and silence dissent.

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