Repairing Inequality?: Disaster Relief, Deservingness, and the Growing Wealth Gap in the United States


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Liberal Arts


Disaster relief is designed to strengthen claims of repair and restoration through homeownership. In this way, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid replicates some of the most troubling aspects of the broader redistributive state in the United States, exacerbating the wealth gap and inequalities in terms of race, education, and homeownership. As disasters become more frequent and destructive, and as aid becomes a larger flow of resources, it is important to understand the ways current policies contribute to entrenched inequalities. Ultimately, this research asks how disaster aid could be remade in order to reduce, rather than exacerbate, social inequalities.