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The Devastation of Hurricane Katrina: Sociological Theories on the Psychological Impact

Erin McCoy
Ohio Northern University

The psychological effects that resulted from Hurricane Katrina are a social phenomenon.  Several months later, this devastating event continues to impact the entire United States.  Many who lived in the area lost their family, friends, and possessions. Some even lost their lives.  Those who survived were trapped and without food and water for days.  The citizens of the United States were disappointed and numbed at the lack of response to provide support for the survivors.  Many nations throughout the world were in shock at the incapability of the most powerful country in the world to provide immediate relief to their own people. By using sociological theory, individuals can have a better understanding of the psychological trauma of this specific phenomenon.  Sociological theory is a very powerful tool when analyzing problems throughout the world today.  Not only will it help individuals understand society as a whole, but also the relationship between the individuals involved in the event and society.  It will allow a better understanding of the past, present, and future.   To have a better understanding, the works of two classical sociological theorists will be applied to this specific phenomenon.   Evaluating the relative strengths and weaknesses of the works of William Isaac Thomas and Emile Durkheim will help others to better understand how the hurricane has affected society.

NCSA 2006