Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery (Book Review)

Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery (Review)

Christopher J. Paul, Duke University. March 17, 2015.

Daniel P. Aldrich. 2012. Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Social capital has been derided as a catchall theory that is imprecise in its mechanisms, unit of analysis, and practical implications. Yet, this book adds to the extensive evidence that suggests social relations play an important role in outcomes such as collective action, civic participation, and in this work, resilience to shocks.1,2

In Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery, Daniel Aldrich demonstrates the central role of social capital in promoting recovery across four major disasters, from the 1923 earthquake in Tokyo, the Kobe 1995 earthquake, the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. Aldrich defines social capital as “the networks and resources available to people through their connections to others.” He uses a variety of measures of social capital, from voter turnout to participation in funerals, to evaluate their influence on post-disaster recovery, as measured by population growth and recovery aid.

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