The Search for a Theoretical Framework for Long-term Disaster Recovery Efforts: A Normative Application of Jane Addams' Social Democratic Theory and Ethics
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This Applied Research Project is an exploratory study seeking to establish a theoretical framework for long-term disaster recovery efforts. Through the use of qualitative interviews conducted with senior managers of national nonprofit agencies working on Hurricane Katrina recovery, this research first tests the feasibility of Jane Addams' social democratic theory and ethics for use as a theoretical framework for long-term disaster recovery. The research also explores the degree to which nonprofit organizations already implement elements of Addams' theory and ethics in their long-term disaster recovery programs. This is tested through the administration of a questionnaire with case managers working with Katrina survivors in Houston, Texas. The findings of this research strongly support the use of Jane Addams' social democratic theory and ethics as a theoretical framework for long-term disaster recovery efforts. Not only do leaders of nonprofit organizations view the Addams framework as feasible, but case managers report that their organizations are already implementing the main tenets of Addams' theory and ethics in their daily provision of services to Katrina survivors. Therefore, this research suggests that the long-term disaster recovery community may immediately look to Addams' social democratic theory and ethics as a theoretical framework upon which to construct its efforts, both for Hurricane Katrina long-term recovery and for that of future disasters.