Buffalo Creek Flood Disaster

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Buffalo Creek Flood Disaster Emilie Durkheim described the concepts of social regulation and social integration, and how both are connected to suicide rates. Both of these concepts can also be used to analyze the effect that the Buffalo Creek flood had on individuals and the community. Using the ideas of social regulation and social integration as well as the book “Everything in Its Path” by Kai T. Erikson, we can see the consequences of the Buffalo Creek flood disaster. Durkheim used the concepts of social regulation and social integration to analyze how social forces affect suicide. Social integration refers to how integrated a person is inside their social group, or the level of attachment a person feels toward their group (Conley 187). Social integration varies greatly from community to community and differs in degrees of member attachment. A tightly knit community, where citizens interact with each other in a variety of ways, reflects higher social integration. This can be compared to a community in which members rarely or never interact with many other community members, which reflects low social integration. According to Durkheim, two types of suicide arise from the different levels social integration. One cause of suicide is extremely low social integration, which is referred to as egoistic suicide. Durkheim argues that this is the case because others give the individual’s life meaning, so without this support from the group the person may feel hopeless (Conley 188). The other type of suicide, altruistic suicide, reflects the opposite situation: when an individual is too socially integrated (Conley 189). This type of suicide occurs when members of a group or community become so totally engrossed by the group tha... ... middle of paper ... ... no rules to govern everyday life, there was no moral compass. The loss of community was acutely felt by the former Buffalo Creek residents, who had previously been a very tight knit people. This was demonstrated by the fact that post-disaster euphoria was completely absent after the flood. Usually this euphoria arises when the survivors realize that the community is still existent and alive. However in Buffalo Creek there was not a shred of community left to cause celebration. This was due in part to HUD’s housing regulations that not only worsened the feeling of isolation, but also because of the massive destruction caused by the flood itself. After the sudden and violent incident the pain of the survivors would continue far into their future. The chronic pain and suffering resulting from the loss of community and the effects of it on would linger for years.
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