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RE: [xmca] moral denial

I forwarded Andy's question to my partner who works for the US EPA, and he
sent the following response. I hope this is of use.

In An Air That Kills: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana
Uncovered a National Scandal author Andrew Schneider does not treat the
subject of the community's "acquiescence with" or even "support of" the
town's polluter as "moral denial."  However, he documents how the
townspeople perceived their own economic interests as totally dependent
upon the polluter to the extent that they were probably more
panic-stricken about losing the "polluter-employer" than they were
about people getting sick and dying.

My theory is that when people perceive threats to their "bread and
butter," they'll defend even the devil and hell itself from any threat to
that.  The current Republican attacks on the EPA as a "job killer" agency
is a prime example of how to exploit that human fear.  Also, everywhere
the EPA goes to do a cleanup, we always have to be extremely cautious with
our community relations because the EPA is not necessarily considered the
"good guy" at all.  Many communities are so economically-dependent on
polluting employers that they simply fail to see any good in protecting
the environment or even their own health--and will thus show a lot of
hostility toward the EPA.

On Tue, December 27, 2011 8:39 am, C Barker wrote:
> Andy,
> Although it doesn't use the concept of 'moral denial', this book is
> wonderful:
> Flammable: Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown by Javier
> Auyero and Debora Alejandra Swistun (2009)
> It explores the multiple sources of 'confusion' within a community
> suffering from massive environmental degradation. If you've not seen it, I
> think you'll get a lot from it.
> Colin
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] on behalf
> of Andy Blunden [ablunden@mira.net]
> Sent: 27 December 2011 03:47
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [xmca] moral denial
> I am considering doing some work with an historian who has written the
> history of an asbestos plant and its community. Does anyone know of any
> work done, preferably in the CHAT tradition, on the opposite of a moral
> panic, what we could call, I suppose, "moral denial"? There is lot about
> management cover-up, even stuff about panic over asbestos, medical
> evidence, and "living with asbestos," but nothing about how a whole
> comunity can keep on working with asbestos when the lethal nature of the
> material was already public knowledge, until half the town had died of
> or contracted asbestosis. We have lots of ideas, but like to know if
> anyone else has looked at this.
> Any hints?
> Andy
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
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Artin Goncu, Ph.D
Educational Psychology
College of Education M/C 147
1040 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-5259

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