2023 journal article
BRIDGE Builders - Leadership and social capital in disaster recovery governance
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, 96.
Rural disaster recovery governance focuses on the actions that governments take to address the immediate economic, environmental, and infrastructure needs of communities, but does not consider the structural limitations of rural communities, or the transformational power of community leadership. Applying knowledge of community leadership, governance, and social capital in a rural community where social relationships and local-level leadership are central to external interactions provides space to understand the challenges, opportunities, and limitations of disaster recovery governance and leadership systems. To do this, we conduct a secondary thematic analysis of 30 interviews of 32 disaster recovery leaders in Robeson County, NC (USA) following the compound disasters of hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018). Participants describe a recovery landscape that relies on Community Organizers - non-titular rural community members who emerge in response to communities' immediate recovery and resource needs. Social capital acts as a resource for Community Organizers as they work to fill the relational and recognition barriers presented by isolation from overextended rural governments. Community Organizers utilize linking and bridging social capital between Decision-Makers and communities to influence transformational change that engenders trans-scaler social capital to create successful recovery outcomes that adequately represent the needs, values, and norms of rural communities. Community-level leaders can serve as a bridge between communities and Decision-Makers, generating effective outcomes that foster collaboration and reciprocity for the next storm.