Contaminated Communities / Edition 2

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In this wholly revised Second Edition, Michael Edelstein draws on his thirty years as a community activist to provide a much-expanded theoretical foundation for understanding the psychosocial impacts of toxic contamination. Informed by social psychological theory and an extensive survey of documented cases of toxic exposure, and enlivened by excerpts drawn from more than a thousand interviews with victims, Contaminated Communities presents a candid portrayal of the toxic victim's experience and the key stages in the course of toxic disaster. The Second Edition introduces dozens of new cases and provides expanded considerations of environmental justice, environmental racism, environmental turbulence, and environmental stigma, as well as a fully articulated theory of "lifescape." The new edition moves past the well-charted role of reactive environmentalism to explore issues for a proactivist approach that employs a "third path" of social learning, sustainable innovation, consensus building, and community empowerment.
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Editorial Reviews

Stephen Couch
Edelstein's classic work. The book yields very important insights on human responses to environmental contamination.
Pennsylvania State University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813336473
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2003
  • Edition description: 2ND, EXPANDED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,117,394
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Edelstein is professor of Environmental Pyschology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where until recently, he convened the Environmental Studies major. Since 1979, he has conducted a continuous program of research on the psycho-social impacts of environmental contamination. He is the co-author of Radon’s Deadly Daughters, as well as co-editor of Radon and the Environment. Dr. Edelstein’s research has also involved the impacts of environmental change on indigenous peoples and the practice of environmental impact assessment. In recent years, he has become involved in environmental exchanges with Russia, serving as a project director for two grants from the Trust for Mutual Understanding.
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Table of Contents

Foreword to the First Edition ix
Preface to 2004 Edition xi
Acknowledgments xiii
1 Toxic Exposure: The Plague of Our Time 1
The Plague as a Metaphor for Toxic Exposure 2
Contaminated Communities 6
Contamination as a Widespread Event 7
Defining a Contaminated Community 9
The Stages of Toxic Disaster 19
Collateral Damage in the Risk Society 22
The Theory of Environmental Turbulence 24
Summary and Outline of the Book 32
2 Legler: The Story of a Contaminated Community 35
A Methodological Note 35
Groundwater Contamination in Legler 37
Period of Incubation 38
Discovery and Announcement 50
Disruption of Lifestyle: Water Delivery 55
The Hookup of City Water 59
Lingering Concerns 59
Afterword About the Landfill's Afterlife 62
3 Lifescape Change: Cognitive Adjustment to Toxic Exposure 65
Defending Our Prior Assumptions 65
Perceiving a Changed Status 66
Perceptions of Health 71
Inherent Uncertainty 73
Confirmed Exposures 78
Environment 81
Loss of Personal Control 89
The Inversion of Home 93
Loss of Social Trust 104
Conclusion: The Lifescape Impacts of Toxic Exposure 118
4 Individual and Family Impacts 119
Coping with Exposure: Individuals 119
Outcomes: Positive and Negative 122
Coping with Exposure: Couples 136
Coping with Exposure: Children 141
Case Studies of Family Dynamics 147
Stigmatized Relationships: Outsiders Just Don't Understand 152
Neighbors: Proximate Support 158
Summary: Individual and Family Impacts 159
5 Disabling Citizens: The Governmental Response to Toxic Exposure 161
A Dialectic of Double Binds 162
Communicational Distortion in the Institutional Context 172
Distortion and the Communication of Bad News 176
Differing Paradigms of Risk Between Citizens and Regulators 178
Institutional Contexts 189
Conclusion and Summary 191
6 The Enabling Response: Community Development and Toxic Exposure 193
Enablement Through Community Development 193
Keys to Enablement: Leadership and Activism 195
Key Benefits of Community Development 197
The Consensus/Dissensus Continuum 201
Consensus and Dissensus in Legler 205
Consensus and Dissensus Elsewhere 209
Toxic Victims: A New Social Movement? 213
Sustainability as a Metaenvironmental Justice Issue 242
Conclusion: A Radical Environmental Populism 244
7 The Societal Meaning of Pollution 245
Denial and the Culture of Contamination 245
Rejecting a Contaminating Culture: Local Environmental Resistance 253
Changing the Culture of Contamination 274
Cultural Immunity: Last Defense of the Contaminating Culture 279
Sustainability as the Third Stage of Modernity 282
Notes 293
Bibliography 311
Index 339
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