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The Politics of InvisibilityPublic Knowledge about Radiation Health Effects after Chernobyl$
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Olga Kuchinskaya

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027694

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027694.001.0001

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Articulating the Signs of Danger

Articulating the Signs of Danger

(p.19) 1 Articulating the Signs of Danger
The Politics of Invisibility

Olga Kuchinskaya

The MIT Press

Chapter 1 examines how imperceptible hazards such as radiation are experienced by residents of the affected areas. The chapter argues that for people living with radiological contamination, “seeing” the hazard and developing knowledge about its potential or actual health effects depends on how the risks are articulated, which in turn is shaped by opportunities for articulation. In the Belarusian post-Chernobyl context, instrumental and interactive resources for articulation have been limited. The chapter demonstrates how, as a result, the affected populations rely on readily available administrative discourse (rather than discourses based on science or laypeople’s own collective experiences) to define the scope of radiation danger and its health effects. Based on this analysis, the author concludes that the affected populations cannot be assumed to be the most risk-aware.

Keywords:   affected populations, imperceptible hazards, risks, radiation health effects, experience, articulation, risk awareness

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