Social organization of suffering and justice-seeking in a tragic day care fire disaster

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Arthur D. Murphy, Professor and Department Head (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In 2009 a fire destroyed a day care center in Mexico, killing 49 children and leaving 100 others with serious injuries. This chapter explores how suffering and the search for justice and closure have produced a social movement of interconnected subgroups of parents and caretakers. These new social groups collaborate and at times compete due to their myriad definitions and concepts of justice. In various combinations, parents and caretakers in four self-defined groups seek justice through legal consequences for day care owners plus regulators and politicians: seeing that it never happens again; demanding compensation; assuring that their surviving children are healthy and taken care of; and expressing their loss or anger. How their suffering translates into these objectives must be understood in a context in which the new Mexican multi-party system is figuring out how to handle major problems like this so that citizens feel closure. The single party system always had answers for such problems—send the perpetrators to another state or off to an ambassadorial post. While it appears that the social movement approach has seen some success in the case of the 2009 fire and in other applications, it also holds limitations in that it reminds individuals of their suffering and grief and may limit progress in constructing a new well-being.

Additional Information

In R. E. Anderson (Ed.), World Suffering and Quality of Life (pp. 281-292). Springer.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Well-being, Grief, Disaster, Fire, Children, Parents, Caretakers, Justice, Social movement, Social networks, Suffering

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