After major flooding associated with Hurricane Floyd (1999) in North Carolina, mitigation managers seized upon the “window of opportunity” to woo residents to accept residential buyout offers despite sizable community resistance. I present a theoretical explanation of how post-crisis periods turn into “opportunities” based on a temporal referential theory that complements alternative explanations based on temporal coincidence, panarchy, and shock-doctrine theories. Results from fieldwork conducted from 2002 to 2004 illustrate how several temporal influences compromised collective calibration of “normalcy” in local cultural models, leading to an especially heightened vulnerability to collective surprise. Four factors particularly influenced this temporal vulnerability: 1) epistemological uncertainty of floodplain dynamics due to colonization; 2) cultural practices that maintained a casual amnesia; 3) meaning attributed to stochastic timing of floods; and 4) competitive impact of referential flood baseline attractors.
Human Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 17, 2017
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