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Book part
Publication date: 2 May 2018

Ram Alagan, Robert O. White and Seela Aladuwaka

This research underlines the usefulness of Civil Rights Geographic Information Systems (CR-GIS) for understanding the social struggles and assessing the critical needs of…

Abstract

This research underlines the usefulness of Civil Rights Geographic Information Systems (CR-GIS) for understanding the social struggles and assessing the critical needs of the disempowered population of Alabama’s “Black Belt.” The social struggles have been persistent for decades in the Southern states, particularly in Alabama. Researchers have recognized the political and historical root causes and implications for these social struggles. The geographic region of Alabama’s Black Belt is significant because it became the epicenter of the Civil Rights struggle and still represents the vestiges of the social policy known as “Jim Crow.”

Although GIS has a great potential to explore social and political struggles, currently, it is not profoundly associated with Civil Rights studies. This research employs CR-GIS to illustrate the impact of the disfranchisement caused by biased geopolitics in three selected cases/issues: (1) gerrymandering and voting rights, (2) transportation, and (3) poverty in the State of Alabama. While there has been some progress in overcoming the social struggles in the Black Belt, there is a need for qualitative and quantitative analyses to understand persistent social, economic, and Civil Rights struggles in the region. GIS could be a valuable tool to understand and explore the social struggles in the disempowered communities of the “Black Belt” in Alabama. By incorporating the existing information and conducting ground truth studies, this research will lay the basic foundation for extended research by creating a policy template for empowering the disempowered for better social, economic, and political integration in the “Black Belt region.”

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Environment, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-775-1

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Book part
Publication date: 30 January 2014

Ram Alagan and Seela Aladuwaka

Participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) have been increasingly employed for decision-making in planning, environmental conservation, zoning, and development…

Abstract

Participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) have been increasingly employed for decision-making in planning, environmental conservation, zoning, and development. This research explores the use of PGIS and its significant role for environmental zoning plans (EZP). PGIS methodology intends to incorporate local knowledge, increase data access, multiple realities, and bottom-up decision-making in EZP in a very sensitive water body in Southern Sri Lanka.

This research presents the lessons learned from a case study of Madu Ganga estuary in Galle District, Sri Lanka. Madu Ganga is an extraordinarily stretch of water body (an estuary) with abundant natural resources and beauty. In recent years, Madu Ganga has faced serious environmental threats due to increase in human activities leading to overexploitation of natural resources. To protect and manage this valuable environment, a team of geographers from the Center for Environmental Studies, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka was invited by the Coastal Resource Management Project to undertake the zoning study. Various participatory methods including PGIS applications were adopted and affected communities were also involved in developing a zoning plan. The study illustrates that the use of PGIS approach is effective in incorporating local people into environmental planning, and it also supports affected people to be actively involved in development activities in their own communities.

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Voices of Globalization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-546-3

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Book part
Publication date: 2 May 2018

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Environment, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-775-1

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Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2011

Ram Alagan and Seela Aladuwaka

Although gender dimensions have been widely discussed in social research, many disaster relief and recovery programs still ignore gender needs and gender discrepancies…

Abstract

Although gender dimensions have been widely discussed in social research, many disaster relief and recovery programs still ignore gender needs and gender discrepancies. Specially, in a disaster situation, certain cultures and governments have a lack of mind-set and skills to focus on women's needs adequately although it requires much more investigation. During natural disasters, females face unprecedented challenges than men, because they are vulnerable and marginalized – socially, culturally, economically, and politically. To overcome these challenges, it is strongly suggested that a multifaceted decision-making process is practiced.

This chapter explains challenges for women in a natural disaster situation and discusses how to overcome difficulties and rebuild livelihoods of a vulnerable population in Sri Lankan society. The 2004 tsunami claimed over 40,000 lives, displaced about 1.0 million from their homes, and caused severe damage to the physical infrastructure and the damage estimated was well over US $1.5 billion. As the female population face unprecedented challenges, it is suggested that gender needs and gender discrepancies require thorough investigation. This chapter presents a study based on needs assessment carried out in tsunami impact communities in East and South Sri Lanka in 2005 and outlines the lessons learned on how women and men operate and anticipate post-disaster relief and recovery. Using participatory mapping methodology (e.g., narratives, ethnographic observations, community mappings, key informant interviews, focus group interviews, and other qualitative methods) this study suggests effective techniques to incorporate gender needs in a natural disaster situation.

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Democracies: Challenges to Societal Health
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-238-8

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Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2011

Seela Aladuwaka and Ram Alagan

Violence against women remains a significant barrier to securing human-centered development goals. Domestic violence in particular has limited options in almost every…

Abstract

Violence against women remains a significant barrier to securing human-centered development goals. Domestic violence in particular has limited options in almost every sphere of women's lives and in most community space. It also compromises the healthy development and well-being of their children and families. Yet, domestic violence is widespread in all regions, classes, and cultures. Wife beating is the most common form of family violence, and it poses a threat to the quality of women's lives in nearly every culture and society (Penn & Nardos, 2003). Victims of violence are often silent because they are helpless. Social and legal barriers continue to make it difficult to collect accurate data and sufficient evidence for domestic violence. In patriarchal societies in Asia, such as Sri Lanka, women face many difficulties due to domestic violence. This chapter identifies diverse problems and harassment faced by women in their domestic life in Kandy District in rural Sri Lanka. It focuses on problems women face in their youth, married life, and, in some cases, divorce. The qualitative study focuses on understanding the nature of the problem, the reason for domestic violence, and providing some conclusion from the material gathered from the study.

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Democracies: Challenges to Societal Health
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-238-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Havidan Rodriguez, Tricia Wachtendorf, James Kendra and Joseph Trainor

The purpose of this paper is to explore the societal impacts and consequences of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the societal impacts and consequences of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Design/methodology/approach

One month after the tsunami, a group of social science researchers from the Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, and the Emergency Administration and Planning Program, University of North Texas, participated in an Earthquake Engineering Research Institute reconnaissance team, which traveled to some of the most affected areas in India and Sri Lanka. Data were obtained through informal interviews, participant observation, and systematic document gathering.

Findings

This research yielded important data and information on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. A number of issues are identified that emerged from the field observations, including: tsunami education and awareness; the devastation and the loss; economic impact; mental health issues; irregularities and inequities in community based response and recovery efforts and in the distribution of disaster relief aid; gender and inequality; and relocation and housing issues.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the role and importance of generating integrated early warning systems and strategies aimed at fostering sustainable recovery and building disaster resilient communities.

Originality/value

An extensive amount of perishable data were collected thus providing a better understanding of the societal impacts of disasters on impoverished communities. A number of emerging issues are identified that should be of primary concern in efforts to protect populations residing in coastal regions throughout the world from similar catastrophes.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Book part
Publication date: 15 October 2013

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Voices of Globalization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-546-3

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Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2011

Abstract

Details

Democracies: Challenges to Societal Health
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-238-8

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Book part
Publication date: 30 January 2014

Barbara Wejnert

At the time of its spread, globalization was perceived as pervasive, loosely controlled worldwide force that shaped societal opportunities, global equity, and equality of…

Abstract

At the time of its spread, globalization was perceived as pervasive, loosely controlled worldwide force that shaped societal opportunities, global equity, and equality of countries and of individual citizens within each country. As this volume demonstrates the forces of globalization are not uncontrollable and the states are much more forceful in determining the formation and the activity of social institutions and international organizations. When analyzing globalization the interaction of local and global milieu provides the best platform to understand processes and developments of the contemporary world.

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Voices of Globalization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-546-3

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Book part
Publication date: 2 May 2018

Abstract

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Environment, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-775-1

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