I’m pleased to announce that my newest publication, Exercising Agency: How Men Experiencing Homelessness Employ Human, Social, and Cultural Capital to Mitigate Natural Hazards Risk, is now available online at the Natural Hazards Review.
People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable in society. They are exposed to a variety of natural and technological hazards and may have few resources available to protect themselves and their property. Despite their vulnerabilities, there has been relatively little research on how the homeless mitigate their hazard risks. The present study seeks to fill that oversight. Specifically, this paper examines the strategies that homeless men in Central Florida employ to mitigate their risks to natural hazards in the region. This study finds that despite increased social vulnerability to natural hazards, some risk can be mitigated by utilizing public spaces such as libraries, activating social networks of friends and family, and employing certain techniques to establish and maintain campsites. Thus, the homeless exercise agency by using their human, social, and cultural capital to mitigate risk.
My article with Liz Grauerholz, “Teaching Inequalities: Using Public Transportation and Visual Sociology to Make It Real” is in the July issue of the ASA Journal Teaching Sociology. I’ve included the abstract below, but the full text is here: http://tso.sagepub.com/content/44/3/200.full .
Abstract: In this article, we describe an adaptation of Nichols, Berry, and Kalogrides’s “Hop on the Bus” exercise. In addition to riding the bus, we incorporated a visual component similar to that developed by Whitley by having students conduct a sociological, photographic exercise after they disembarked. Qualitative and quantitative assessment data show that taken together, these exercises enhance students’ awareness and sociological understanding of social inequalities, especially income inequalities. Specifically, the activities make abstract concepts real to students, make more obvious inequalities that often go unnoticed, help students better understand how structural barriers affect individuals’ daily lives and contribute to broader social inequalities, and to some degree, dispel stereotypes of marginalized groups.
Check out the November 2015 Issue of the Natural Hazards Observer to learn more about how the homeless are vulnerable yet resilient in the face of man-made and natural hazards.
“As you are reading this, more than 500,000 Americans are homeless. Many will sleep in homeless shelters; others will sleep in tents or other makeshift accommodations. The latter are exposed to a range of weather-related hazards. They represent some of the most vulnerable people in society and must be incorporated into emergency plans. Paradoxically though, homeless individuals can also be assets to their communities during disasters.
Nearly five years ago, I volunteered in the annual Point-In-Time Count (PIT) of people experiencing homelessness. That day, my group was tasked with surveying food banks in Osceola County, Florida, a county characterized by high poverty rates and widespread family homelessness. It was a gorgeous Florida winter morning—the sun shone warmly in a cloudless sky while a gusting breeze kept us cool. Bad weather was expected in the afternoon, but I wasn’t too worried about it. As a native Floridian, I am used to tumultuous afternoon storms.” Click here to continue reading.
The Natural Hazards Observer is published by the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado – Boulder. Articles cover disaster issues, recent disaster management and education programs, hazards research, political and policy developments, resources and Web sites, upcoming conferences, and recent publications. Learn more and subscribe here: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/o/
I’m excited to announce that my article “Values over structure: An ethnographic study of volunteers participating in a juvenile diversion program”, will appear in the December issue of the Justice Policy Journal. JPJ is the peer-reviewed, open-access, journal of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. More information about the journal can be found on their website: http://www.cjcj.org/news/category/511 .
This study is an ethnographic study of community volunteers participating in a juvenile diversion program called Neighborhood Accountability Boards (NAB). My research shows that NAB members encourage offending youths to make better choices in the future. Specifically, NAB members encourage youths to obey the law, work hard, and have a good attitude. However, the NAB members are aware of environmental factors, such as family and schools, which may limit the choices actually available to youths and influence their decision making. Ultimately, these findings represent a contradiction in which NAB members encourage youths to subscribe to middle-class values despite the fact that there may be structural obstacles which my impede youths from doing so.
Last spring I received funding through the Natural Hazards Center’s quick response program to study the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the pre-disaster homeless in New Jersey. Preliminary findings from this study are now available on the NHC’s website and can be found here: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/research/qr/qrpubs10s.html