Bugging Out or Hunkering Down?: Prepping for New York’s Apocalypse
In this historical moment that is driven by the increasing need for security, American fear about terrorism, environmental catastrophes, pandemics, and economic crises has fueled interest in “prepping,” confronting disaster by mastering survivalist skills. Shaped by the memory of recent disasters and government missteps, some New Yorkers have set out to protect their families from tragedy. This pragmatic shift toward self-reliance represents not just an evolution of the American belief in the pluck and power of the individual. Instead, prepping also reflects a move toward a localized notion of citizenship that is rooted in social bonds and trust. This ethnographic study explores the rise of Urban Preppers in New York City. Do city dwellers imagine and prepare for Doomsday differently than rural and suburban residents? Yes. Imagining Doomsday informs how one prepares for disaster in all categories from equipment—to skills development—to network building—to arranging a safe locale. The prepper economy targets these market segments to increase revenue. Urban prepping strategies are heavily influenced by factors such as one’s expectations of government, class, race, and gender. Determining if one should “bug out” or “hunker down” is the key question for New Yorkers. Is safety a right or a privilege? Be prepared for the surprising answer.
To Be Released: Fall 2018, Routledge