Image: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Organizing for dealing with Climate Change
By Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2019-11-11
The journal Environmental Justice (jEJ) is one of the most relevant pioneers in the field of Environmental Justice Research. The peer-review journal is published bimonthly, covering the impacts and environmental burdens that affect marginalized po [...]
Image: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Perspectives and discourses on Environmental Justice
By Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2019-11-02
The journal Environmental Justice (jEJ) is one of the most relevant pioneers in the field of Environmental Justice Research. The peer-review journal is published bimonthly, covering the impacts and environmental burdens that affect marginalized pop [...]
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IV. ISA Forum of Sociology in Porto Alegre
By Francesca Rosignoli & Götz Kaufmann, 2019-10-13
On April 27, 2019, we launched the call for abstracts through September 30, 2019, for the session "(Critical) Environmental Justice As New Research Paradigm in Sociology" proposed by the Environmental Justice Institute (EJI).
As previously [...]
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Environmental Justice Conference 2019
By Francesca Rosignoli, 2019-07-07
Image: © Kiel Marine Science zu Kiel
The ENJUST network
By Francesca Rosignoli, 2019-06-19
From 6 to 8 June 2019, the international workshop "Narratives and Practices of Environmental Justice" took place at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Kiel (Germany). Organized by the Institute of Geography at Kiel University, Kiel Marine Science (KMS), [...]
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Call for Abstracts through September 30, 2019
By Götz Kaufmann, 2019-04-27
In the time from July 14-18, 2020, the Fourth Forum of the International Sociological Association (ISA) will take place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The conference is named Challenges of the 21st Century: Democracy, Environment, Inequalities, Intersect [...]
Environmental Justice as a research theme
Theory Considerations on Environmental Justice as a research framework
By Götz Kaufmann, October 6, 2014
Environmental Justice contains several partial conceptions (Bolte, G., Bunge, C., Hornberg, C., Köckler, H., Mielck, 2012; cf. Maschewsky, 2001; Walker, 2009). Basically, it consists in the concepts of environmental goods, environmental bads, and environmental risks (Kaufmann, 2013a, p. 167).
There is a rough institutional understanding, recognized from the American and Canadian debates since the 1980s that refers strongly to environmental justice claims and claims of environmental racism (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008) , historically targeting the beginning of environmental justice struggles after the Love Channel incident (cf. Dobsen, 1998; T. H. Fletcher, 2003; T. Fletcher, 2002) and protests against illegal waste siting in Warren County (cf. R. D. Bullard, 1993; R. Bullard, 1993; Chavis & Lee, 1987). Environmental justice research examines not only marginalized racial or ethnic groups (native Americans, indigenous people, people of Afro-American or Aboriginal origin etc.), but also gender divides (Souza, 2008). Due to the history of the movement (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008), environmental justice research is ‘bottom-up’ – it focuses on the community level (Kameri-Mbote & Cullet, 1996) and an understanding of the ‘environment’ concept as a place where we “live, act and play” (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008, p. viii). As for the justice conception, the concept deals with distributional, intergenerational, and procedural justice likewise.
The grassroots orientation of this research has established environmental justice research close to cultural studies but also close to studies on inequality, gender,
planning, economics, ethics, philosophy, sociology, and politics (among others). As a general research framework, environmental justice refers to environmental racism in terms of statistical likeliness to face negative impacts in the respective environment (Beck, 1986, among others).
It is important to distinguish two possible answers to the revealed unequal distribution of environmental goods and environmental burdens. One is called the Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) claim that came from the early days where Afro-American communities articulated the demand of replacement of waste sites that threaten their neighbourhood. The second one is more critical and asks for Not-In-Anyone’s-Backyard (NIABY) (cf. Maantay, 2001). According to the latter answer, the solution must include the concerns of society as a whole. Environmental justice adds community as an autonomous actor to environmental research and makes social justice concerns part of the environmental research field (Kameri-Mbote & Cullet, 1996).
Planning research has added the concept of polyrationality (Davy, 2008) to express differently perceived environments of housing communities. In sociology, environmental justice research is tied to the social construction of the environment concept. This leads here to the understanding that environmental issues only exist as an environmental problem when the affected community perceives them as such, or the ‘social nature’ concept (cf. Kaufmann, 2013b). Political science focuses on equal participation rights in the process of building public optinion (Maguire & Lind, 2003) whereas law and philosophy look at the different conceptions of justice (Rawls, 1972; Schmidtz, 2007). All these approaches equally define environmental justice as a vivid field of research and transdisciplinary activity.
The Environmental Justice Institute is founded to support the existing joint efforts from society and academia on the international level to frame the concept and to bring people from different backgrounds together.
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