Cities of Comrades
This book has explored the tensions generated by disasters over issues of power and politics as well as the growth of the interventionist state during the Progressive Era. It has shown how Salemites and Haligonians crafted their disaster citizenship in response to the fire and explosion, respectively. Salem and Halifax were both cities of comrades before their disasters; in the wake of the fire and explosion, families, neighbors, friends, and coworkers had to rely on patterns and traditions of self-help, informal organization, and solidarity that they developed before crisis hit their cities. Survivors and their relievers differed in their experiences of order and disorder after each disaster. This conclusion first reflects on the movie The City of Comrades, and the three key insights it provides: the very existence of everyday solidarity practiced by ordinary people; this solidarity waits latently; the value of solidarity is not only material but also spiritual and emotional. It then discusses some lessons that the Salem and Halifax disasters offer for contemporary disaster relief.
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