Tepeyac: Case Study of institutional and Social Learning Under Stress

November 2003 (VOL. 21, NO. 3)

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There is an anthropological and sociological literature dealing with emergent organizations in disaster situations. Less is known about the ways in which pre-existing organizations learn new skills in order rapidly to be able to provide a new range of services in a post-disaster situation. The case study of Tepeyac, an immigrant workers’ rights, social service, and cultural organization serving Hispanics in New York City, provides some preliminary insight into the flexibility of such organization and highlights the potential of other similar organizations as a community resource in disasters elsewhere in the U.S. and perhaps elsewhere in the world.