Law, Politics, and the Humanitarian Impulse
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Table of Contents
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Introduction: The Challenge of Crisis and Catastrophe in Law and Politics
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From the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to Hurricane Katrina, from the Darfur tragedy 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...
1. Crisis and Catastrophe in Science, Law, and Politics: Mapping the Terrain
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Crisis and catastrophe loom dauntingly, even impossibly, large in science and law. (I use the plural because crisis and catastrophe are quite distinct phenomena, despite their potential overlap.) They are also words that we moderns use so casually and promiscuously that their meanings have lost whatever precision they may have once possessed, and have acquired that ...
2. The Real Third Rail of American Politics
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In 1962, Frances Perkins, Franklin Roosevelt’s secretary of labor, recalled the “Roots of Social Security” for an audience of Social Security Administration staff members. The Committee on Economic Security, which had broad agreement on most issues involved in drafting the Social Security Act, “broke out into a row because the legal problems were so...
3. New Orleans Everywhere: Bureaucratic Accountability and Housing Policy after Katrina
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Housing assistance for those displaced from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina began immediately after the hurricane and continued for those who have qualified through March 2009, although the numbers have decreased over the years. Some lost assistance because they had found jobs and housing where they had moved. Others moved back to New...
4. Emergency Management and the Courts in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
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This essay describes emergency management issues facing the courts, with a particular emphasis on the generally poor response to Hurricane Katrina by the courts in New Orleans (Orleans Parish), Louisiana. A broader purpose is to examine this failure through the lens provided by more than fifty years of research on human behavior in natural...
5. Environmental Right-to-Know and the Transmutations of Law
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Law does more than codify, regulate, and control; it also catalyzes and transmutes, provoking cascading social and cultural effects, particularly when the force of law is informational.
6. Reintegration, or the Explosive Remnants of War
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The categories used to situate and analyze humanitarian issues in policy are far cleaner than most events on the ground. Perhaps nowhere does this truism grow clearer than at the end of emergencies, when exceptional suffering fades into normal misery. Whereas crises and catastrophes suggest the decisive lucidity associated with urgent need...
Notes on Contributors
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2009