Opinion paper

Queer vulnerability and disaster situations

  • Received: 30 December 2023 Revised: 26 February 2024 Accepted: 07 March 2024 Published: 15 March 2024
  • The appropriateness of branding certain disaster events as a natural disaster continues to be academically debated, given that few disasters are solely the result of uncontrollable forces of nature, and are instead anthropogenic in their creation, or exacerbated by the relationship humans have with actual and potential hazards. Therefore, this socially constructed nature of disasters also makes groups that are marginalized within society, such as queer people, more vulnerable to these disasters. Utilizing a Bourdieusian framework, the field of disaster preparedness, management, and recovery is examined for queer vulnerability, which is deconstructed here as a product of global and local cultures, in their distribution of economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital away from queer people. The concepts of habitus and subsidiary concepts of ethos and doxa are deployed to understand the ingrained ways of doing and being that perpetuate discrimination against queer individuals through said inequitable distributions of capital. It is argued that the field is privileged for heteronormative lives, thus leading to heteronormative assumptions and actions that further marginalize queer experiences before, during, and after disasters during disasters. In light of this, we call for a more social justice informed approach to disaster risk reduction and relief, in which heteronormativity is consciously decentered to ensure all groups are kept safe from disasters, which can arguably never be natural.

    Citation: Seth Atkin, Kieran Higgins, Claire Kilpatrick, Stephan Dahl. Queer vulnerability and disaster situations[J]. AIMS Geosciences, 2024, 10(1): 196-207. doi: 10.3934/geosci.2024011

    Related Papers:

  • The appropriateness of branding certain disaster events as a natural disaster continues to be academically debated, given that few disasters are solely the result of uncontrollable forces of nature, and are instead anthropogenic in their creation, or exacerbated by the relationship humans have with actual and potential hazards. Therefore, this socially constructed nature of disasters also makes groups that are marginalized within society, such as queer people, more vulnerable to these disasters. Utilizing a Bourdieusian framework, the field of disaster preparedness, management, and recovery is examined for queer vulnerability, which is deconstructed here as a product of global and local cultures, in their distribution of economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital away from queer people. The concepts of habitus and subsidiary concepts of ethos and doxa are deployed to understand the ingrained ways of doing and being that perpetuate discrimination against queer individuals through said inequitable distributions of capital. It is argued that the field is privileged for heteronormative lives, thus leading to heteronormative assumptions and actions that further marginalize queer experiences before, during, and after disasters during disasters. In light of this, we call for a more social justice informed approach to disaster risk reduction and relief, in which heteronormativity is consciously decentered to ensure all groups are kept safe from disasters, which can arguably never be natural.



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