Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Geography

Major Professor

Solange Munoz

Committee Members

Derek Alderman, Ron Kalafsky, Michelle Brown, Sherry Cable

Abstract

This dissertation examines a struggle for Environmental Justice over the long term to understand the impacts of current state-led strategies for achieving Environmental Justice. Recent geographic scholarship in Environmental Justice literatures suggests that state-centric strategies come with problems scholars have yet to fully comprehend. This dissertation, based on fieldwork and archival research in Anniston, Alabama, supports this claim with three main findings: 1) Corporations produce scaled identities to advantageously empower themselves and weather shifts in their profitability, while ordinary people are limited in their capacity to respond in kind to such unequal power arrangements. 2) Current legal solutions for Environmental Justice are not meeting the demands expressed by Environmental Justice movement actors, and in themselves demonstrate a resistance to solutions that would more fairly address a collective body of victims due to the normative economizing of neoliberalism. 3) The process of remediation is confined to limiting risks from the physical environment, even while the city itself continues to struggle. This can cause a source of pain and frustration for residents who remain in impacted areas, who wish to see a more holistic solution to resolving environmental injustice, including remediating a sense of place.

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