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Lecture 11

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University of Toronto St. George
William Magee

SOC243: Lecture 11 I. Health Social Movements and Agency  Movements such as demedicalizing homosexuality, pro-ana (demedicalize some behaviours of anorexia), demedicalize women’s bodies.  Agency by definition helps to create social change  They’re social movements not social institutions because they occur through informal networks through people who share beliefs around the social change and the actions you might take. Also collectively engage to challenge power  Health Access Movements  other social movements:  Constituency-Based Health movements: i.e. around gender, ethnicity-based, immigration based, inequities  Embodied health movements—around disease, disability, illness experience- -- challenge science on etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention o Ex. The HIV movement (during early HIV epidemic, you had activists tried to get researchers to pay attention to them and also the physical problem, not to stereotype the problem and localize to the gay population they were pushing for money for different research) o They’re not anti-science, they just challenge how science is being done at the point in time  Brown paper focuses on breast cancer and identify what agencies can and shape these factors (image in lecture slide) o Breast cancer movement  someone has breast cancer, then their friends have breast cancer, their neighbours  something’s going on; this collective illness becomes politicized not individualized. o Not all collective illnesses are politicized. Can be collective by having support groups and supporting each other. Let’s come together and help each other. So personal problems don’t become politicized o Environmental movement and women’s movement coming together with activists in breast cancer  those cross pollinations of resources that flow from one network of people to another make these movements more powerful. It’s interesting to think this environmental breast cancer movement  the general/cultural prescription to think positive about cancer and in someway these politicized movements say I’m not going to think positive about this but I’m not a victim and I’m working to changing this victim. So by gaining information about who’s spreading pollution in my neighbourhood is important II. Environment and Health Group Presentation  Environmental activism: involves advocacy and working towards protecting the natural environment from destruction or pollution  Concerns tend to have negative health implications for humans  Presentation will cover 5 activist movement sand discuss the health/social implications of each: o Alberta oil sands  Structure: An arrangement of social forces that constrain actions, but that can also facilitate actions  Agency: complex concept that generally refers to a freedom to act ____________________  Environmental effects  largest contributor to greenhouse gas emission growth in Canada  Tailing ponds: man made ponds with the purpose of holding dirty water used in the extraction of the crude oil  Large scale depletion of Albertan boreal forest  Cause various heart problems, lung problems, strong links to cancer  Dr. John O’Connor  found higher than normal cancer rate among patients (also elevated rate of rare cancer  bile-duct cancer)  Was charged by the CPSA for causing undue harm  Residents of the area protested these charges and demanded that research be done on the negative effects of the oil sands  Environmental activist = perfect example of agency and structure  involves choosing to take action against forces that are often largely embedded in the structure of society  Dr. O’Connor  chose to point out negative health consequences of the oil sands (agency)  constrained by the government (structure) o Love Canal crisis  Partially built canal in Niagara falls  contains toxic chemical waste and some nuclear waste  When the wastes were dumped, the area wasn’t inhabited  School district pressured Hooker Chemical to sell them the land not realizing how dangerous it was.  The waste disposal site was disturbed during the construction of the schools  Crisis: residents of area suffered health issues (miscarriages, epilepsy)  Residents began to organize to protest and investigate the reasons  Vegetation in area died, people noticed puddles of noxious substances  Initially the government and Hooker Chemical claimed that health problems were not connected to the toxic waste  Media attention  meant no one wanted to move into the area  Residents suffered severe financial loss when they received no compensation and couldn’t sell homes  Issues:  Government and local authorities do not assist residents in investigating complaints  Affected area residents need to hide their own scientists to research o Nuclear crisis in Japan  The world’s worst atomic disaster in 25 years  Fukushima Daiiachi nuclear disaster  Women have 70% higher chances of getting thyroid cancer after Fukushima according to the WHO  May have caused up to 2500 new cases of cancer  Affects infants the most  critical development period  There’s an activist movement right now  Japan anti-nuclear protest two years after Fukushima o Impact of coal trains  Coal needs to be transported  look at exporting coal from Montana and Wyoming, through Oregon  16-19 trains/day carrying 125 000 tons of coal in total  going to be driving through neighbourhoods  Risks  children playing outside of their homes  Diesel has adverse health effects (affecting lungs, asthma, etc..)  The coal dust itself also has adverse health effects  also there’s leeching (because the rail ways are lose to the water)  Children and elderly more likely to be affected  most vulnerable population living is closest to the railroads  Movement: Opponents of plans to export coal held a rally at the Oregon Legislature  because they didn’t’ do their own study, they’re arguing that these coal trains shouldn’t go through their neighbourhoods. But not taken seriously because they’re not doing their own studies o Impact of factories in China  Rapid Economic growth and average annual growth 9.3%  Much of China’s energy production for manufacturing comes from the use of coal  Environmental costs  Found presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to lung cancer (PAHs are produced by exhaust from vehicles and coal burning factories)  Air pollution has also been linked to asthma, bronchitis, asthma  Environmental protest  Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences reported that protests related to pollution and environmental problems have being rowing by 29% annually since 1996.  Shifang Protest  thousands of protestors demonstrated in Shifang, China against a proposed copper plant  Fears over pollution hat the plant would cause  Construction halted because of the protests  Impacts on Economic growth  shutting down factories will lead to less pollution but will also cost jobs  Risk for mortality and morbidity are significantly higher for the
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