Church-based social capital, networks and geographical scale: Katrina evacuation, relocation, and recovery in a New Orleans Vietnamese American community

Christopher A. Airriess, Wei Li, Karen Leong, Angela Chen, Verna M. Keith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research examines the role of social capital and networks to explain the evacuation, relocation, and recovery experiences of a Vietnamese American community in New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the single largest community institution, the parish church's complex bonding and bridging social capital and networks proved particularly critical in part because of its historically based ontological security. The process of evacuation, but especially relocation and recovery, was dependent on deploying co-ethnic social capital and networks at a variety of geographical scales. Beyond the local or community scale, extra-local, regional, and national scales of social capital and networks reproduced a spatially redefined Vietnamese American community. Part of the recovery process included constructing discursive place-based collective-action frames to successfully contest a nearby landfill that in turn engendered social capital and networks crossing ethnic boundaries to include the extra-local African American community. Engaging social capital and networks beyond the local geographical scale cultivated a Vietnamese American community with an emergent post-Katrina cultural and political identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1346
Number of pages14
JournalGeoforum
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008

Keywords

  • Community
  • Geographical scale
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Social capital and networks
  • Vietnamese Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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