• View author and book videos on our YouTube channel.

  • Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina

    Author(s):
    Pages: 248
    Illustrations: 12 photographs
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $89.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5434-5
  • Paperback: $24.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-5449-9
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • 1. It's Not about Katrina 1

    2. The Making of a Disaster 22

    3. "If This Could Happen to Us, It Could Happen to Anyone" 55

    4. Navigating the Road Home 74

    5. Getting to the Breaking Point 99

    6. Faith in a Volunteer Recovery 126

    7. Charity, Philanthrocapitalism, and the Affect Economy 153

    8. Katrina as the Future 176

    Acknowledgments 191

    Notes 193

    Bibliography 213

    Index 225
  • Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith offers a nuanced, sophisticated and long-term account of the misery faced by New Orleans residents in the years after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. . . . Adams’ rich description, plethora of personal interviews and close-knit observations provide insight into the impact of Hurricane Katrina in bringing to the forefront of debate the basic social, environmental and economic vulnerabilities that characterise US society.”

    “This work helpfully describes how not to handle a recovery. Recommended not only for Gulf Coast collections, but also for academic libraries supporting programs in public administration or emergency preparedness.”

    “Adams recounts heartbreaking stories of people stonewalled by Road Home, beset by depression and suicide, living rooms full of paperwork, still waiting for money promised to them. . . . In concert with the rest of the study, the two chapters on Road Home represent a true triumph of the potential of politically informed ethnography.”

    “[T]his cautionary tale from New Orleans… provides intellectual tools for those who want to build 'another world' where meeting human need, not profit, becomes society’s organizing principle.”

    “A powerful analysis and critique of how the second-order disaster of failed relief to the victims of Katrina is symptomatic of federal monies used by for-profit businesses to fill their coffers off ‘affect surplus’ (p. 149) and the ‘value-added’ (p. 151) free labor of volunteers with bigger hearts than wallets.”

    “In the practice of public administration, we remain accountable for the responsibilities of government and the practice of public management. Transparency is paramount if the victims who become the consumers of aid relief are to retain faith in the equity and ethics of the process of crisis recovery. Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is a book recommended for scholars and practitioners exploring the ethical dilemmas surrounding public management in the face of disaster.”

    Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith uses Hurricane Katrina as an example to illustrate the ways in which privatization of disaster relief, and indeed all social services, is ‘creating a slippery slope for those who would use public resources for private gain at the expense of those who are left to fend for themselves’ (9). Adams uses her training as an anthropologist to highlight the ways in which the victims’ relationships to, and interaction with, society have shifted because of economic forces. To this, she adds the focus of a social economist in investigating the ways in which an entire economic system can negatively impact vulnerable communities.”

    “Adams’s book is worth reading because her sophisticated, strongly argued and well-substantiated structural analysis and critique of neo-liberal policy in practice is skilfully intertwined with critical ethnographies that heartbreakingly detail the needless suffering – including deaths – that disaster victims endured from this second-order disaster.”

    Markets of Sorrow is undoubtedly an important contribution to studies of Katrina and the reconfiguration of disaster recovery through affective registers within neoliberalism. Its most notable contribution is in the ways in which it highlights how Katrina recovery has produced and refined new assemblages for disaster recovery that tie non-profits, faith-based organizations, and social movements to private, for-profit, and governmental institutions.”

    "As the stories collected from over 160 households in various flooded neighbourhoods of New Orleans attest, these companies routinely fell short of providing disaster-affected households with the resources necessary to reconstruct, even as they posted increased earnings and rising stock values, rewarded executives with millions of US dollars in bonuses, and charged inflated processing fees to the US federal government.'

    “This is public anthropology at its best, not only addressing core topics of our discipline but also illuminating social, economic and political issues that concern us all.”

    "Adams's excellent account documents how the neoliberal recovery process exacerbated and prolonged (not ameliorated) the natural and human disaster."

    "If you’re teaching about the ethnography of the U.S., disasters, globalization, or economic anthropology, this would be a good book.... It offers a critique of neoliberalism that might help your students better comprehend some of their own Kafkaesque miseries and help them to develop their own critiques of the structures that contain them and their generation."

    "Vincanne Adams’s Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is a moving anthropological account of the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. . . . [A] must read for all geographers embracing qualitative research in a hazard context and beyond."

    Reviews

  • Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith offers a nuanced, sophisticated and long-term account of the misery faced by New Orleans residents in the years after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. . . . Adams’ rich description, plethora of personal interviews and close-knit observations provide insight into the impact of Hurricane Katrina in bringing to the forefront of debate the basic social, environmental and economic vulnerabilities that characterise US society.”

    “This work helpfully describes how not to handle a recovery. Recommended not only for Gulf Coast collections, but also for academic libraries supporting programs in public administration or emergency preparedness.”

    “Adams recounts heartbreaking stories of people stonewalled by Road Home, beset by depression and suicide, living rooms full of paperwork, still waiting for money promised to them. . . . In concert with the rest of the study, the two chapters on Road Home represent a true triumph of the potential of politically informed ethnography.”

    “[T]his cautionary tale from New Orleans… provides intellectual tools for those who want to build 'another world' where meeting human need, not profit, becomes society’s organizing principle.”

    “A powerful analysis and critique of how the second-order disaster of failed relief to the victims of Katrina is symptomatic of federal monies used by for-profit businesses to fill their coffers off ‘affect surplus’ (p. 149) and the ‘value-added’ (p. 151) free labor of volunteers with bigger hearts than wallets.”

    “In the practice of public administration, we remain accountable for the responsibilities of government and the practice of public management. Transparency is paramount if the victims who become the consumers of aid relief are to retain faith in the equity and ethics of the process of crisis recovery. Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is a book recommended for scholars and practitioners exploring the ethical dilemmas surrounding public management in the face of disaster.”

    Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith uses Hurricane Katrina as an example to illustrate the ways in which privatization of disaster relief, and indeed all social services, is ‘creating a slippery slope for those who would use public resources for private gain at the expense of those who are left to fend for themselves’ (9). Adams uses her training as an anthropologist to highlight the ways in which the victims’ relationships to, and interaction with, society have shifted because of economic forces. To this, she adds the focus of a social economist in investigating the ways in which an entire economic system can negatively impact vulnerable communities.”

    “Adams’s book is worth reading because her sophisticated, strongly argued and well-substantiated structural analysis and critique of neo-liberal policy in practice is skilfully intertwined with critical ethnographies that heartbreakingly detail the needless suffering – including deaths – that disaster victims endured from this second-order disaster.”

    Markets of Sorrow is undoubtedly an important contribution to studies of Katrina and the reconfiguration of disaster recovery through affective registers within neoliberalism. Its most notable contribution is in the ways in which it highlights how Katrina recovery has produced and refined new assemblages for disaster recovery that tie non-profits, faith-based organizations, and social movements to private, for-profit, and governmental institutions.”

    "As the stories collected from over 160 households in various flooded neighbourhoods of New Orleans attest, these companies routinely fell short of providing disaster-affected households with the resources necessary to reconstruct, even as they posted increased earnings and rising stock values, rewarded executives with millions of US dollars in bonuses, and charged inflated processing fees to the US federal government.'

    “This is public anthropology at its best, not only addressing core topics of our discipline but also illuminating social, economic and political issues that concern us all.”

    "Adams's excellent account documents how the neoliberal recovery process exacerbated and prolonged (not ameliorated) the natural and human disaster."

    "If you’re teaching about the ethnography of the U.S., disasters, globalization, or economic anthropology, this would be a good book.... It offers a critique of neoliberalism that might help your students better comprehend some of their own Kafkaesque miseries and help them to develop their own critiques of the structures that contain them and their generation."

    "Vincanne Adams’s Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is a moving anthropological account of the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. . . . [A] must read for all geographers embracing qualitative research in a hazard context and beyond."

  • "Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is public anthropology at its finest. Vincanne Adams has written a devastating portrait of market failure in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and a cautionary tale about what might happen if the private sector takes charge of the welfare state." — Eric Klinenberg, author of, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago

    "Everybody's disaster is somebody's good luck. As disaster capitalism becomes an ever larger segment of the post-climate-change economy, New Orleans provides a fundamental case history. Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith describes in damning detail what happens to the social contract when disaster means profit, with the markup paid in human suffering. Meanwhile, churches, charities, and volunteers add up to a big business of unpaid work. Vincanne Adams's feeling for how the soulful people of New Orleans created their own recoveries comes through on every page." — Ned Sublette, author of, The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square

    "Vincanne Adams has given us a brilliant and poignant ethnographic account of post-Katrina New Orleans. This is an ambitious intervention not only in how we understand the iconic 'disaster' that is Katrina but also in how we understand neoliberalism writ large. Adams breaks new ground by showing how the making of market rule is entangled with endeavors of relief, humanitarianism, charity, welfare, and faith. This is not just the story of New Orleans; it is the story of aid and development everywhere. Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is thus a model for social scientific inquiry in the twenty-first century." — Ananya Roy, author of, Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Images/Art

    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Mail:
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is an ethnographic account of long-term recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is also a sobering exploration of the privatization of vital social services under market-driven governance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, public agencies subcontracted disaster relief to private companies that turned the humanitarian work of recovery into lucrative business. These enterprises profited from the very suffering that they failed to ameliorate, producing a second-order disaster that exacerbated inequalities based on race and class and leaving residents to rebuild almost entirely on their own.

    Filled with the often desperate voices of residents who returned to New Orleans, Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith describes the human toll of disaster capitalism and the affect economy it has produced. While for-profit companies delayed delivery of federal resources to returning residents, faith-based and nonprofit groups stepped in to rebuild, compelled by the moral pull of charity and the emotional rewards of volunteer labor. Adams traces the success of charity efforts, even while noting an irony of neoliberalism, which encourages the very same for-profit companies to exploit these charities as another market opportunity. In so doing, the companies profit not once but twice on disaster.

    About The Author(s)

    Vincanne Adams is Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She has written and edited numerous books in medical anthropology, including Sex and Development: Science, Sexuality and Morality in Global Perspective (coedited with Stacy Leigh Pigg) also published by Duke University Press.

Explore More
Share

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.


Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu