LOVE CANAL: The Social Construction of Disaster.
SMITH COLL NORTHAMPTON MASS
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Data were obtained from 63 in-depth interviews with a primarily random sample of homeowners both relocated from and remaining in the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls, New York. Data analysis centers on the relevance of family health experience and of demographic factors for shaping resident perceptions of what happened at Love Canal. Beliefs concerning the scope of chemical migration are highly correlated with age and the presence of dependent children in a household. Additional structural factors and the desire for evidence influenced both access and attentiveness to information and experience and perceptions of the relevance of those as evidence for beliefs. Finally, the quality of family health experience, and the degree to which that was accommodated by traditional medical paradigms of illness and diagnosis relate to differing beliefs regarding chemical migration and attendant risk. The sources of ambiguity pertaining to the extent and seriousness of chemical migration at Love Canal are discussed and their contributions to widespread resident distrust of official response are addressed. Resident perceptions are the basis for a series of recommendations concerning the management of similar events in the future.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Civil Engineering