Mediating the Morals of Disasters: Hurricane Katrina in Norwegian News Media
AbstractThe Norwegian media responses to Hurricane Katrina were structured around three well-established sets of motifs in a globalized late modern disaster discourse: 1) The collapse of civil society, 2) Social vulnerability 2) Extreme weather and global warming. These sets of motifs portray relationships or non-relationships between natural evil and moral evil. Starting with Voltaire’s description of Candide’s arrival in Lisbon after the earthquake I discuss how an 18th century disaster discourse is echoed in contemporary media narratives. This paper explores a folkloristic and narratological approach to writing nature. I use Hurricane Katrina as a case for studying Norwegian media disaster narratives. In these narratives I am concerned with how such narratives transform disasters from being acts of nature to become issues of morale. Modern disaster narratives have more complex historical roots then often claimed. This complexity is mirrored in the media representations of Hurricane Katrina.
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