Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding Environmental Injustice in Toxic Pesticide Exposure along the California’s Agricultural Central Coast
by Guadalupe Sanchez, Mayra, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2020, 182; 27669025
Abstract (Summary)

Communities living amid California’s pesticide-intense agricultural regions—who are mostly Latino farmworkers—fear that the high incidence of illnesses, reproductive issues, developmental disorders and learning disabilities in children materialize the latent, cumulative, and transgenerational effects of the imperceptible, yet harmful, low-dose pesticide exposure. My dissertation focuses on how local residents make visible and tangible the harm by agricultural pesticides in California’s Central Coast agricultural regions—one of the country’s most productive and chemically intense regions. Doing so, it examines how concerned local groups mobilize scientific, local, and embodied knowledges in the articulation and political contestation of who and what become toxic. It raises the significance of sensitive periods of development and intimate spaces where life courses are chemically altered, and collective futures traced to sustain order. It follows different actors including farmworkers, community leaders, affected residents, NGOs and scientists through diverse settings such as community meetings, scientific meetings, educational events, rallies, and so on. Considering these matters of environmental and reproductive justice, it retraces accounts of how the toxic harm of pesticide exposure becomes known and traced beyond the agricultural field, revealing how such a pervasive effects shape everyday life. This study also demonstrates how these critical temporalities and spaces become significant points for emergent practices of care in the re-imagining and re-configuring of more just and sustainable possibilities. Ultimately, my analysis reveals the sociomaterial disruptive and disabling potential of industrial pollutants as a critical approach to the experience of living in amid industrial pollution.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watson-Gegeo, Karen A
Commitee: Sze, Julie, Grandia, Liza
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Geography, Environmental Justice, Social research
Keywords: Care, Environmental justice, Exposure, Harm, Pesticide, Toxicity
Publication Number: 27669025
ISBN: 9781658416092
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