Living with lead in Uruguay

Daniel Renfrew- Department of Sociology and Anthropology, West Virginia University daniel.renfrew@mail.wvu.edu Lead poisoning, the disease of antiquity and the twentieth century’s “mother of all industrial poisons” (Markowitz and Rosner, 2002), continues to haunt and cover the earth. Lead is a legacy pollutant of America’s toxic infrastructure, found in the cracked and peeling paints of old … Continue reading Living with lead in Uruguay

Mine tailings and enviromental (dis)controls in a Brazilian coastal area

Eliana S. J. Creado – Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil[1] eliana.creado@gmail.com When we started to study the possibilities of sociotechnological disasters (see Zhouri et al., 2017) in a fishery village, called Regência Augusta, at Espírito Santo State, Brasil, where Doce River meets the Atlantic Ocean, we were thinking about something related to oil or … Continue reading Mine tailings and enviromental (dis)controls in a Brazilian coastal area

Making Mercury History: Toxic Assets and Neocolonial Extraction

Ruth Goldstein- Department of Global and International Studies, University of California, Irvine. ruth.goldstein@uci.edu (See below for Spanish translation) “In the neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.” Exiled Uruguayan scholar Eduardo Galeano writes about toxic neocolonial alchemies in the first pages of The Open Veins of Latin America (Las Venas Abiertas … Continue reading Making Mercury History: Toxic Assets and Neocolonial Extraction

Editorial: Mapping and Making Petrochemical Connections on a Global Level

Lorenzo Feltrin, University of Warwick. In the summer of 1994, the petrochemical worker Gabriele Bortolozzo – employed for decades in Porto Marghera’s VCM-PVC plants – met Public Prosecutor Felice Casson in his office at the Court of Venice. Bortolozzo, supported by the association Medicina Democratica, was there to submit a complaint against the Italian companies … Continue reading Editorial: Mapping and Making Petrochemical Connections on a Global Level

Iran’s Petrochemical Industry: A Disaster Zone of Precarity and Pollution

Peyman Jafari, Princeton University & International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam). During the last two decades, Iran has developed a significant petrochemical sector. Whenever it makes headlines, however, the reason is often international politics. In June 2019, for instance, the Trump administration imposed severe sanctions on the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) due to … Continue reading Iran’s Petrochemical Industry: A Disaster Zone of Precarity and Pollution

The Bahía Blanca Petrochemical Complex: Why I Have Made a Documentary Called “Ingeniero White: A Town They Are Killing”

María Giovis. In October 2017, the documentary “Ingeniero White: Un pueblo que están matando” was released, a documentary marked by an urgency to denounce. To denounce how they are killing my hometown: Ingeniero White. To me, this is the place of my earliest affections, dirt roads, the smell of the sea, beloved friends and family. … Continue reading The Bahía Blanca Petrochemical Complex: Why I Have Made a Documentary Called “Ingeniero White: A Town They Are Killing”

How Small Data and Toxic Autobiographies Unearth the Limitations of the Italian Legislation on Industrial Risk: First Results from Gela, a Sicilian Petrochemical Town

Elisa Privitera, University of Catania. A General Overlook: Regulations about Risk, Democracy, and Socio-Environmental Injustice Catastrophic events have been direct and indirect triggers of policy changes concerning the assessment and mitigation of risk.[1] The Seveso Directives, which represent the main European laws on industrial risk, are an emblematic case since they were issued after the … Continue reading How Small Data and Toxic Autobiographies Unearth the Limitations of the Italian Legislation on Industrial Risk: First Results from Gela, a Sicilian Petrochemical Town

Researching the Politics of Risk in Grangemouth and Ludwigshafen: Looking back to 2001

Peter Phillimore, Newcastle University. What led us nearly twenty years ago (in 2001) to undertake comparative ethnographic fieldwork in two centres renowned as hubs of the European chemical and petrochemical industry – Ludwigshafen in Germany, and Grangemouth in Scotland? What were the conversations and questions which led to this project? Our primary aim was to … Continue reading Researching the Politics of Risk in Grangemouth and Ludwigshafen: Looking back to 2001

Afterlives of Orbital Infrastructures: From the Earth’s High Orbits to its High Seas

Rajji Desai, Harvard University. “We live in an age in which extremely expensive machines are made and installed in orbit without public knowledge, only to be spectacularly blown away and become total losses before our eyes.”  – Lisa Parks, “Orbital Ruins” (2013) As of 2019, the global space industry generates approximately 350 billion US dollars in revenue … Continue reading Afterlives of Orbital Infrastructures: From the Earth’s High Orbits to its High Seas

Editorial: Environmental Justice in the Global South: Uneven Geographies of Extractivism, Industrial Pollution and Toxicity

David Brown, University of Warwick The environmental justice paradigm has its origins in the United States in the 1980s, as a social movement which aimed to tackle the uneven distribution of toxic waste sites and polluting industries located in minority and socio-economically deprived neighbourhoods. Much of the early environmental justice research focused efforts on issues, … Continue reading Editorial: Environmental Justice in the Global South: Uneven Geographies of Extractivism, Industrial Pollution and Toxicity