The reconstruction of everyday life: Experiencing Hurricane Andrew

Kenneth J. Smith, Linda Liska Belgrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This is an ethnographic account based on interviews collected from people who rebuilt their lives after the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 in Dade County, Florida. Three themes describe the recovery period: a time out from everyday life, life in “the zone,” and living between two worlds. Time out from everyday life is the initial postdisaster phase and describes the problems encountered in both the physical and the relational aspects of the intimate world—the household. Life in the zone is not a phase but rather a way of dealing with a community that lacked not only the comforts but also some of the necessities of everyday life; life in the zone was a life of shortages, scarcity, and frustration. The phase of living between two worlds describes the problems associated with constantly moving between the orderly and organized world of work and the disorganized world of home and neighborhood. Finally, for some, the inability to reconstruct former lives or continue with anticipated projects led to altered lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-269
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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