Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Toxic Blowing Dust and Mounting Social Harms: Understanding Slow Violence at the Salton Sea as a State-Corporate Crime and Environmental Injustice
by Lawrence, Daniel K., M.S., Northern Arizona University, 2019, 157; 13882952
Abstract (Summary)

The Salton Sea is the largest lake in California and has been sustained for a century largely by polluted agricultural runoff. The Salton Sea is shrinking and its exposed lakebed is turning to blowing dust, threatening the health of the disproportionately Hispanic/Latino and poor surrounding communities. This thesis project identifies this problem as a case of slow violence. It employs the theoretical concepts of state-corporate crime and environmental justice to analyze how the intersection of political and corporate power underlies 1) the environmental conditions that created the Salton Sea as an environmental hazard, and 2) the failure to take effective action to respond to the environmental conditions that led and continue to lead to these harms. The method of historical sociology is utilized to develop this criminological explanation of the harms to human health at the Salton Sea. Key findings include the determination that this case constitutes a state-corporate crime, and that Hispanic/Latino individuals, impoverished people, women, and Indigenous people face environmental justice repercussions from this problem. The findings of this thesis may be useful for researchers and policymakers seeking to address underlying sources of harm and injustice at the Salton Sea. More broadly, the successful application of the state-corporate crime framework to this case of slow violence suggests it may be useful to utilize both concepts when analyzing similar cases of social harm.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Michalowski, Raymond J.
Commitee: Fernandez, Luis A., Wonders, Nancy A.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Criminology and Criminal Justice
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 58/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental Justice, Sociology, Criminology, Limnology
Keywords: Environmental justice, Historical sociology, Imperial valley, Salton sea, Slow violence, State-corporate crime, California
Publication Number: 13882952
ISBN: 978-1-392-27593-1
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