‘Our Society Works’: Disaster Solidarity and Models of Social Life in the Elbe River Valley

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Disasters have often been analysed as periods of exception that shine light on otherwise opaque circumstances of social life. However, less focus has been placed on the different forms that such revelatory experiences take in the wake of disasters and crises. This article examines how flood-affected residents of the Elbe River Valley region in Saxony, Germany, interpreted widespread activities of solidarity during a major flood event in 2013 as being radically different from everyday social life. I present two ways that residents experienced these emergent practices of disaster solidarity as revelatory: a prescriptive model, showing a wishful glimpse of what society could be, and a descriptive model, revealing a perceived hidden truth about what society already is. By exploring this interpretative duality of the experience of the floods, I discuss how crisis narratives exhibit a spectrum of responses that are not contradictory but made meaningful retrospectively.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnos: Journal of Anthropology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2023

ID: 370218022