Barbara L. Allen

Neighborhood as «Green Laboratory»: A critique of actor network theory and allied NGO strategies in post-disaster New Orleans

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: actor network theory, laboratory studies, sustainable development, post-disaster rebuilding, post-Katrina New Orleans.

Using concepts from Science and Technology Studies (STS) such as «laboratory» and «field» and methods such as actor-network-theory (ANT), this article traces non-governmental organization (NGO) assistance in the rebuilding of a heavily damaged neighborhood in post-Katrina New Orleans. The assistance strategies maps easily onto Latour's three-step laboratization process, which embodies the dynamics of actor-network-theory (ANT). This article traces the Holy Cross neighborhood in New Orleans as it became a field-site for the growth of a large «green» network and accompanying «green» technologies. The mapping of a post-disaster community's planning and reconstruction using an ANT laboratory scheme as a model, reflexively reveals what is missing in both the actual community rebuilding outcomes and in ANT itself. Using the critiques of other science studies scholars, the article concludes with suggestions of additional tools and strategies to make post-disaster «greening» a more robust and relevant project.

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