Devin Flaherty

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Texas, San Antonio, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10199

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Flaherty, Devin (Texas, San Antonio, U. of) "Anticipating the Next Storm: Constructing Vulnerability in Post-Maria St. Croix, U.S. Virgin islands"

Who counts as vulnerable, and why? Questions of the production and distribution of vulnerability are central to contemporary anthropological inquiry. Set in the post-Hurricane Maria context of St. Croix, a small Caribbean island home to a super aging society, this study explores how the category of vulnerability is constructed by a local community situated at the confluence of climate change and global aging. It does so through a longitudinal-style ethnographic examination of local projects within the disaster recovery community to identify and catalog the ‘vulnerable old’ for the purposes of disaster preparation. This study approaches this object of observation through an innovative methodological focus on attention. During 4 visits over 1.5 years, data collection will focus on the differential attention of recovery workers as a window into the temporal production of the emergent social category of the ‘vulnerable old.’ The central research question of this study is: How and why does the project of disaster preparation on St. Croix produce a ‘vulnerable old’? That is, how are old age and vulnerability co-constructed through the social context of the disaster preparation phase of recovery on St. Croix, and what role does that co-construction play in the broader project of recovery?