of Sociology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Lori Peek)
This thesis explores how different community institutions -- government, education, healthcare, business, and grassroots organizations -- in Turkey engage in disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies and how each institution fosters a culture of resilience. The framework used to assess DRR engagement is the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which is the structure of resilience and preparedness created by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). The goal of the research is to understand the ways that DRR is integrated into social institutions in Turkey, using the cities of Istanbul and Antakya as the primary case study communities. The analyses of 21 interviews, as well as supplemental respondent surveys, highlight primary themes informing how the five community institutions address seismic risk in Turkey. The current social organization of Turkey has key characteristics found in 'fatalistic' societies, or societies that are characteristically reactive. However, the ways community institutions engage in DRR illustrates that Turkey is determined to shift its DRR strategies from reactive to proactive. "A current state of unpreparedness" is how a respondent described the risk culture in Turkey today. Still, an examination of the data verifies that, despite the barriers, Turkey is beginning to develop a strong culture of resilience and gradually shifting toward a more 'self-reliant', proactive society.
John Stzukowski. 2010. “A STIRPAT Model of Sectoral CO2 Emissions at the County Scale." Master's Thesis, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University.(Thesis Chair: Professor Sammy Zahran)
The scientific community agrees that the principal cause of increased surface temperature globally is the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion being most important among GHGs. The objective of this thesis is to analyze the spatial correspondences between CO2 emissions and anthropogenic variables of population, affluence, and technology in the United States. Ordinary least squares regression and spatial analytical techniques are used to analyze variation in CO2 emissions based on a modified version of the STIRPAT model. The unit of analysis is the county, with 3,108 counties in the contiguous United States analyzed. The CO2 emissions of multiple sectors are analyzed as a function of total county population, income per capita, and climatic variation. Results show that population has a proportional relationship, the strongest association, with CO2 emissions. Affluence has a positive relationship with CO2 emissions with an attainable Environmental Kuznets Curve for the residential sector and total CO2 emissions. Climate, including average winter and summer season temperature, has a positive relationship with total CO2 emissions, although it has a negative relationship with the residential and commercial sectors of CO2 emissions. Technology acts as the residual in the model, accounting for net-positive and net-negative technology. The thesis concludes that population growth, and to a smaller extent economic growth, are the driving forces of CO2 at the local level. These findings are consistent with global STIRPAT models. An increase in winter or summer temperature further exacerbates CO2 emissions. Understanding the relationships between these anthropogenic variables and environmental impacts at the local scale is a crucial step in the process of formulating mitigation strategies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions in the US.
Jennifer Tobin-Gurley. 2008. "Hurricane Katrina: Displaced Single Mothers, Resource Acquisition, and Downward Mobility.” Master’s Thesis, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Lori Peek)
This thesis examines the needs and experiences of single mothers who have been displaced to Colorado after Hurricane Katrina. The research draws on data gathered through interviews with 15 disaster relief professionals and 8 single mothers. In particular, this study identifies what resources were made available to single mothers in Colorado, how single mothers accessed these resources, and what they still need to reestablish their lives. Further, the thesis explores how intersecting vulnerabilities influenced the downward mobility of single mothers after displacement. In addition, this study examines the institutional participation in the long-term recovery process and offers policy recommendations to aid in the development of preparedness and recovery plans for single mothers in future disasters.
*Winner, 2011 Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder.
*Winner, 2011 Graduate Student Paper Competition, U.S. Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance.
Megan Underhill. 2008. “Katrina’s Displacement: The Untold Consequences of Disaster Resettlement in Colorado.” Master’s Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University.(Thesis Chair: Professor Katherine Browne)
This thesis explores the relationship of the social, economic, and cultural capital of New Orleans residents before and after Katrina in an effort to demonstrate how the presence or absence of such resources differentially impacts the recovery experiences of Katrina evacuees in Colorado. Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic research, this thesis examines the following research questions: Would evacuees be able to draw upon their pre-Katrina capital resources to aid them in their recovery? Which capital resources—including economic, social, and cultural capital—would evacuees rely most heavily upon after their disaster resettlement? Would displaced Gulf Coast residents be able to attain an equivalent value for their capital resources in their new state of residence and what would the consequences be for those individuals who could not? Finally, how would a person’s class, race, and gender impact their disaster resettlement experience? Would it impede or prohibit their ability to accumulate or convert a said capital resource in Colorado?
This research shows that all of the evacuees in the sample experienced economic loss from Katrina and their subsequent resettlement. However, it was the lower-income, predominantly African American, “interdependent” evacuees who had the most difficult time recovering their pre-Katrina economic and social status. In contrast, predominantly white, “self-sufficient” evacuees were able to achieve a faster and more resolute recovery than interdependent evacuees. The disaster resettlement experience of Katrina evacuees in this study clearly illustrates that economic recovery is not equally likely or possible for all groups of people. As such, it is important to situate our discussion of disaster resettlement within a social inequality framework in which we investigate why certain individuals are able to achieve more “valuable” forms of capital than others. In order to understand the complexity of a person’s resettlement experience, we must all broaden the scope of our analysis and include resources such as social and cultural capital in addition to economic capital.
Toni-Lee Viney. 2008. “Disrupting the National Gaper’s Block: An Analysis of Time Magazine’s Framing of Hurricane Katrina.” Master’s Thesis, Department of Communication Studies, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Brian Ott)
With crises, the media’s initial reaction is often impulsive. When such impulses are disseminated to a world audience by an entity that wields the power to construct the “reality” of an event, these impulses have enormous implications for those directly affected and those who are conditioned to see a crisis as a simple dramatization. News media frames of national crises, then, are significant because they shape public memory of “what happened.” This thesis includes an analysis of five New Orleans/Katrina cover story issues of Time Magazine, including September 12, 2005, September 19, 2005, October 3, 2005, November 28, 2005, and August 13, 2007. This research examines how the news media framed Hurricane Katrina and the implications of that framing. By studying the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina both immediately after the crisis and throughout the following two year span, this work compares news media framing of crisis in its initial form with news media framing of crisis over time. Time Magazine relied on what I theorize to be a quasi-tragic frame, which ultimately contributed to Katrina fatigue. I determined that the presence of certain frames and absence of others offers a profound explanation into how New Orleans was phased out.
Andrew Prelog. 2007. “Water Scarcity and Rapid Complex Change in Colorado: An Evaluation of Historical Patterns of Water Appropriation and Socio-Demographic Growth.” Master’s Thesis. Department of Sociology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Evan Vlachos)
This thesis examines historical water appropriation in Water Division 1, the South Platte River Basin of Colorado, in relation to water scarcity for the period 1905 to 2005. This study describes the general changes in water supply and demand within the historical political economy. The primary objective is to empirically evaluate a sociological framework that conceptualizes the relationship between Colorado’s transformation of water appropriation patterns and related socio-demographic changes of population growth. The thesis argues that demographic growth along the urban corridor of the Front Range and the increasing demands of new users may leave society more vulnerable to extreme events of water shortages. An ecological political economy perspective known as the DPSIR is adopted to highlight the important variables in the complex system of water management. From this framework, the legal system governing water appropriation is investigated more thoroughly and historical water appropriation patterns are explained. The “environment,” or water supply, as well as demographic growth, or “population,” are treated as the key independent variables. Water law, or the “Colorado Doctrine,” is considered an intervening variable, while patterns of appropriation are treated as the dependent variable. This approach led to a series of researchable propositions in order to test and analyze a number of interdependent relationships between the environment and society. The evaluation of the data includes a longitudinal, macro-level analysis of water appropriation rights in Water Division 1. Based on the patterns of appropriation and demographic change observed in the data, the research supports the related hypotheses that population growth is the driving force of water appropriation; surface water becomes scarce as a function of population growth; with historic decrease in available surface water, available supplies will be augmented by a “shift” to groundwater by users; insofar as the shift to groundwater supplies decreases the reserve of water usable during times of shortage, creating a more vulnerable society; and, as vulnerability increases the socio-economic-environmental system experiences endemic, or greater uncertainty. The findings of the research have important implications for future research into Colorado’s water resources during periods of complex rapid social and environmental change.
Undergraduate Honors Theses
Audrey Matusich. 2012."Vulnerable Victims: Media Constructions of Children After the BP Oil Spill." Undergraduate Honor's Thesis, Department of Biology and Department of Sociology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Lori Peek)
On April 20, 2011, the Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded, resulting in the largest industrial disaster in U.S. history. Extensive media coverage has focused on the damage the BP oil spill has caused to coastal economies as well as wildlife. However, children also suffered the consequences of the oil spill. This thesis examines local media coverage of child vulnerabilities and capacities in relation to the oil spill disaster. Drawing on a random sample of 120 newspaper articles, I analyze coverage of children and the oil spill using the most widely circulated newspapers in Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida. My content analysis of this coverage reveals that children were primarily framed as victims, aiming to promote adult action or to demonstrate monetary damages. There was also variance across states, with the Alabama newspaper most frequently portraying children as victims in an apparent effort to promote action among adults. The Louisiana paper, on the other hand, mainly focused on community safety, often lumping the mental and physical health of children and adults into a single category. The Florida newspaper varied from the other two in its more diverse coverage of children, most frequently discussing financial stress, adult guilt, and changes in children’s routines. Despite variance in the primary themes represented in each newspaper, all primarily portrayed children as victims to the BP oil spill. Child resilience or capacities were seldom mentioned.
*Winner, 2012 Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Ysaye Zamore. 2012. "Being Black: Examining the Relationship between Sociodemographic Characteristics, Racial Residential Segregation, and Evacuation Behavior in Hurricane Katrina." National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) Summer Disaster Research Program Final Thesis. (Co-Advisor: Professor Lori Peek)
This study analyzes a subset of data (n = 581) from a survey conducted by the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between racial residential segregation, sociodemographic characteristics such as race, class, and gender, and the evacuation strategies used by Hurricane Katrina victims. The results indicate that both sociodemographic features and residential location are significant when analyzing evacuation choices.
*Winner, 2010 Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Heather Bailey. 2011. "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Cultural Trauma: Anxiety Disorders and Cultural Coping Methods for Hurricane Katrina Survivors." Undergraduate Honor's Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Kate Browne)
This thesis discusses the initial impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans area, addresses the historical background of the area to give context for many of the racial disparities post-Katrina, and focuses on the traumas experienced by survivors, particularly how those traumas vary by race. Hurricane Katrina survivors experienced Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and cultural trauma, both of which are anxiety disorders, after the storm. However, the experiences of PTSD and cultural trauma manifested differently for whites and blacks. After Katrina, there were widespread incidents of posttraumatic stress for survivors. There was also a breakdown of social networks and extensive dislocation of survivors due to evacuation and destruction of housing, which shattered collective identities and caused New Orleanians to experience cultural trauma. However, there have been disparities in the prevalence of PTSD for survivors based on race. The findings conclude that the high PTSD rates, as well as the discrepancies in PTSD rates between races are due to cultural trauma, which is rarely acknowledged or discussed as a separate anxiety disorder.
Krista Richardson. 2009. “Katrina’s Children: An Analysis of Educational Outcomes among Displaced Children in Colorado.” Undergraduate Honor’s Thesis, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Lori Peek)
This research examines educational outcomes among displaced children and teens in Colorado in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, the thesis investigates the following research questions: (1) What have displaced children’s and youth’s experiences been with schooling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?; (2) How have their experiences impacted their grades in school?; (3) What benefits have children found in their new schools and environment? Through an analysis of in-depth interviews with students who relocated to the Denver Metro area after Hurricane Katrina, the study shows that there were several factors that had a negative impact on these children’s grade outcomes. These factors included the trauma of the disaster itself, difficulties adjusting to life in Colorado, challenges finding new friends, and delays in becoming acquainted with the new scholastic environment. Although children faced many challenges upon relocating, they were also resilient and were able to identify many benefits of going to school in their new environment in Colorado.
*Winner, 2009 Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Alex Mitchell. 2007. “Social Impacts of Fear: An Examination of the 2002 Washington, DC Sniper Shootings.” Undergraduate Honors Program Thesis. Department of Sociology, Colorado State University. (Thesis Chair: Professor Lori Peek)
During three weeks of October 2002, millions of citizens across the Washington, DCmetropolitan area were terrorized by sporadic, unexplained, horrific shootings at the hands of the “Snipers.” In what came to dominate national headlines, the 2002 Washington, DCSniper Shootings paralyzed citizens with fear and disrupted many people’s lives, relationships, and community functions. Through a detailed content analysis and the use of in-depth interviews, this thesis focuses on the Washington, DCarea newspaper reporting during the period of the shootings in an effort to understand the effects of media on citizen behavior and response. This research examines the relationship between media coverage and its influence on perceptions, levels of fear, daily behavior, and feelings regarding the shootings through ten qualitative interviews with residents of the Maryland/Virginia area. The thesis concludes by describing the various factors that influence citizens’ perceived levels of risk during disaster events like these shootings. These factors include levels of media consumption, geographic location in respect to the disaster, demographic characteristics including age and gender, as well as personal ties, if any, to the victims of a disaster.
*Winner, 2007 Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder.