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Fatal IsolationThe Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003$
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Richard C. Keller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226251110

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226256436.001.0001

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(p.181) Epilogue
Fatal Isolation

Richard C. Keller

University of Chicago Press

The epilogue focuses on tensions between ethical dilemmas that the heat wave forced on the French public and the continued invisibility of vulnerable populations. It begins with a reading of a 2005 novel set during the heat wave, Thierry Jonquet's Mon Vieux, which asks the question, should a society invest in the old, or in its young? The epilogue summarizes the ways that city and national officials attempted to come to terms with the 2003 heat wave and to prevent its recurrence. Many publicity campaigns have sought to generate awareness of the vulnerability of the elderly in order to mitigate the effects of future heat waves. When the heat struck in July 2006, a far lower death toll convinced authorities of their methods' success. Yet there are important limitations to the state's programs that are revealed by the experiences of many of the forgotten: the homeless, the mentally ill, the figures discerned in the cityscape but who defy easy intervention. The book concludes with a discussion of the rising concern with climate change in France—a phenomenon hardly mentioned in political and social life before 2003, but a regular fixture in the aftermath of the heat wave.

Keywords:   Thierry Jonquet, welfare state, climate change, policy, qualitative research

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