The Racial Politics of Neoliberal Regulation in Post-Katrina Mississippi

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After Hurricane Katrina devastated the landscape of much of coastal Mississippi, regional boosters frequently made the counterintuitive claim that the damage wrought by the storm actually represented an opportunity. Based on extensive empirical research and drawing from literature on racialization, white privilege, urban neoliberalism, and disaster capitalism, I show that the "opportunity" the storm produced was to remake the landscape in ways that deepen the neoliberalization of governance in the region. The justification of these governing and accumulation strategies hinged on the twin discourses of the region as a "blank slate" and the racial narrative of what Thomas (2011) calls "banal multiculturalism." The relationship between the governing and accumulation strategies on the one hand, and the cultural politics of race on the other, are best understood, I argue, through the lens of the often-overlooked regulation approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-902
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Regulation Approach
  • banal multiculturalism
  • racialization
  • white privilege


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