Disaster solidarity and survivor ethics: a case study of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico

Robert W. Schrauf, Patria C.López de Victoria Rodríguez

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Liminal periods of disaster solidarity in the aftermath of disaster are a common experience of many survivors. These periods have a specifically ethical component in that people spontaneously engage in collective, altruistic action and magnanimously expand their ethical focus beyond normative social distinctions and hierarchies. Inevitably, however, such solidarity seems to wane, and people return to pre-disaster patterns of interaction. Nevertheless, some individuals move beyond opportune acts of assistance to more extensive reorganisations of their lives during the recovery period and reshape their ethical commitments in new and durable directions. These individuals help make visible marginalised ‘others’ and draw collaborators to share new ethical visions. Based on observational and interview data collected after Hurricane María (2017) in a mountainous Puerto Rican municipality and employing the framework of virtue ethics, this paper examines the differential effects of disaster solidarity on survivors' ethical responses and the different contributions these make to society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12593
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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