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Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0226257204
ISBN-10: 0226257207
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The 1984 explosion of the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India was undisputedly one of the world's worst industrial disasters. Some have argued that the litigation following the Bhopal disaster provided an "innovative model" for dealing with the global distribution of technological risk; others consider the disaster a turning point in environmental legislation; still others argue that Bhopal is what globalization looks like on the ground.

Kim Fortun explores these claims by focusing on the dynamics and paradoxes of advocacy in competing power domains. She moves from hospitals in India to meetings with lawyers, corporate executives, and environmental justice activists in the United States to show how the disaster and its effects remain with us. Spiraling outward from the gas victims' stories, Fortun's innovative narrative sheds light on the complex intertwined way advocacy works within a global system, calling into question conventional notions of responsibility and ethical conduct. Revealing the hopes and frustrations of advocacy, this moving work also counters the tendency to think of Bhopal as an isolated incident that "can't happen here."

About the Author

Kim Fortun is an associate professor in the Science and Technology Studies Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (July 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226257207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226257204
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Greetings,

I read this book in an upper division Anthropology class titled, Risk, Culture, and Disaster, which was a study on the socially constructed quality of Risk. Overall, I felt that this was a valuable and insightful work. My biggest feeling in reading it was that those that would most benefit from reading it, such as the policy makers for major corporations involved with toxic chemicals, nuclear plant designers, or law enforcement professionals, would never crack the cover.

I have a background in Sociology, and my Anthro colleagues told me that there was a tendency, trend, or movement (not sure which) to craft an ethnography that by its nature invoked the feeling or quality that the researcher experienced. In the case of this work, it comes across as a bit chaotic, and the structure is only part of it. I had some issues in this regard, and felt as though it wasn't as impactful as it had the potential to be. And to qualify that statement, I felt that with some structural work and some more effort at developing her theoretical presentation this could have been a classic, seminal work, so that criticism is probably a bit picky.

I felt that while the book provided a great look at the Bhopal disaster, some of the theorizing felt like it was reaching a bit, and I felt that it fell short.

This work raises some interesting questions about advocacy and anthropology, or advocacy and social science, and is great for a classroom setting, but probably a bit much for a casual read.

I wanted to conclude by saying that the Author expended incredible energy and effort in the experiencing the research as well as putting it together in this book. I am frankly amazed at her dedication, intelligence, and ability.
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