Matching Items (3)
- All Subjects: Social Conflict
- Creators: Eakin, Hallie C.
- Creators: Landes, Jazmyne
- Creators: Pyne, Stephen J.
- Status: Published
In the rural, modern American West, two Manichean perspectives of the human-nature relationship have contributed to vehement environmental conflicts. Adopting developer Calvin Black and writer Edward Abbey as archetypes, I explore the endurance of these two ideologies in the redrock canyon country of southern Utah and northern Arizona. Black represents the historically dominant anthropocentric view among Euro Americans that nature ought to be domesticated and commoditized; the competing view, represented by Abbey, is eco-centric and considers the intrinsic value of the broader ecological community beyond its utilitarian function. I argue that environmental conflict in the canyon country has been driven by ideologues who espouse one of these two deeply entrenched and seemingly irreconcilable perspectives. Modern-day conflicts over wilderness, land use, and rural development are endemic, rooted in heritage and culture and driven by particular Anglo-American religious and secular beliefs that reflect differing ways of “seeing” the land. In particular these contending perspectives are reflected in the “built” landscape. Using one especially ubiquitous human imprint on the land as both trope and subject, I explore the political and cultural meanings of roads as symbols variously of progress and of exploitation. Questions of road development and public lands access became the center point of environmental conflict driven by dichotomous worldviews that demonized the opposition and its position. What developed in the last half century is a discourse dictated by categories created by ideologues. This dissertation not only explores the particular circumstances that made these environmental contests volatile in an American desert, but it also meditates broadly on the nature of environmental compromise and conflict, the place of people in "wild" landscapes, and the discontents of rural communities upended by new economic realities. This study illustrates generally how people perceive the land, the technology they wield to manipulate it, and the broader cultural and political transformations that result.
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
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.