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SOCIAL CONFLICT AND WATER ACCESS IN MEXICO CITY'S URBAN WATER NETWORK

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Protest has been both a practice of citizenship rights as well as a means of social pressure for change in the context of Mexico City's water system. This paper explores the role that citizen protest plays in the city's response

Protest has been both a practice of citizenship rights as well as a means of social pressure for change in the context of Mexico City's water system. This paper explores the role that citizen protest plays in the city's response to its water challenges. We use media reports of water protests to examine where protests happen and the causes associated with them. We analyze this information to illuminate socio-political issues associated with the city's water problems, such as political corruption, gentrification, as well as general power dynamics and lack of transparency between citizens, governments, and the private businesses which interact with them. We use text analysis of newspaper reports to analyze protest events in terms of the primary stimuli of water conflict, the areas within the city more prone to conflict, and the ways in which conflict and protest are used to initiate improved water management and to influence decision making to address water inequities. We found that water scarcity is the primary source of conflict, and that water scarcity is tied to new housing and commercial construction. These new constructions often disrupt water supplies and displace of minority or marginalized groups, which we denote as gentrification. The project demonstrates the intimate ties between inequities in housing and water in urban development. Key words: Conflict, protest, Mexico City, scarcity, new construction

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2017-05

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Burn, Baby, Burn: the Centralia Mine Fire

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The Centralia Council, representative of a small Pennsylvania borough, arranged for an illegal controlled burn of the Centralia landfill in late May 1962. It happened the same way every year. As Memorial Day drew closer, the Council contracted volunteer firefighters

The Centralia Council, representative of a small Pennsylvania borough, arranged for an illegal controlled burn of the Centralia landfill in late May 1962. It happened the same way every year. As Memorial Day drew closer, the Council contracted volunteer firefighters to burn the top layer of refuse in the landfill in preparation for the day’s festivities, but intentionally burning landfills violated state law. A tangle of events over the years saw the “controlled” burn develop into an underground mine fire and then into a coal seam fire. Excavation costs lie far beyond the state’s budget, and Pennsylvania plans to let the fire burn until its natural end--anticipated at another 240 years. The tangled mess of poor decisions over 21 years begs one question: did the people or the fire kill Centralia?

This paper’s field of study falls into the cross section of geology and fire science, history, social conflict, public service ethics, and collaborative failures. I explore how a series of small choices snowballed into a full, government funded relocation effort after attempts at controlling the anthracite coal seam fire failed. Geology and fire science worked in tandem during the mine fire, influencing each other and complicating the firefighting efforts. The fire itself was a unique challenge. The history of Centralia played a large role in the government and community response efforts. I use the borough and regional history to contextualize the social conflict that divided Centralia. Social conflict impaired the community’s ability to unify and form a therapeutic community, and in turn, it damaged community-government relationships. The government agencies involved in the mine fire response did their own damage to community relationships by pursuing their own interests. Agencies worried about their brand image, and politicians worried about re-election. I study how these ethical failures impacted the situation. Finally, I look at a few examples of collaborative failures on behalf of the government and the community. Over the course of my research, it became apparent the people killed Centralia, not the fire.

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2019-12

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Self-conscious cooperation: implications of a functional approach to emotions for behavior in social dilemmas

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As the world's resources face increasing pressure from a growing population, it is critical that psychologists understand the motivational processes that lead to cooperation or defection in the context of social dilemmas. Research has uncovered several key strategies for encouraging

As the world's resources face increasing pressure from a growing population, it is critical that psychologists understand the motivational processes that lead to cooperation or defection in the context of social dilemmas. Research has uncovered several key strategies for encouraging maintenance of these resources, however, one area that remains understudied is the effect various emotions may have on cooperation. Furthermore, it is important to consider the specific type of desired behavior: reduction of consumption of a shared resource, or increased contribution to a shared resource. The current study takes a step in this direction, examining the effects of two self-conscious emotions, guilt and pride, on behavior in two different kinds of social dilemmas. Guilt, a prosocial emotion that has been described as a "behavioral interrupt mechanism," is predicted to increase cooperation in both a social trap game and a public goods dilemma game. However, its effects should be strongest in the social trap game, in which the desired behavior is reduced consumption. Pride, an emotion that is conceptually related to the constructs of status and power, is predicted to motivate action in both domains, by increasing both consumption in the social trap game and contribution in the public goods dilemma game. Results partially support these predictions: Whereas guilt and pride both had the predicted effects on consumption in the social trap game, neither had a significant effect on contribution in the public goods dilemma game. Individual differences are examined, as are the results of a Game Feedback Sheet, which yielded insight as to how participants understood the rules of the games, and why they chose the strategies they did. Results support the idea that emotions represent a potentially fruitful avenue of research in social dilemma cooperation, and possible future directions for this research are discussed.

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2012