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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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The Work of Living with It

The Work of Living with It

(p.39) 2 The Work of Living with It
The Politics of Invisibility

Olga Kuchinskaya

The MIT Press

Chapter 2 discusses the multiplicity of lay perspectives on risks. Residents of the contaminated areas in Belarus show different levels of concern about radiation and, correspondingly, there is a range of internal radiation doses, which result from consuming contaminated food. The chapter argues that even though people “make their own doses,” they do so not in circumstances of their own choosing. A particular intertwining of radiological, economic, and infrastructural factors leads to the greater exposure of the least socially advantaged groups. Furthermore, some local populations resist attempts to make contamination more observable simply because, in the absence of infrastructural solutions, mitigating this contamination would then require constant efforts that are beyond individual or family resources. Finally, interpretations of risk are also affected by individuals’ own trajectories with respect to the hazard--that is, the extent to which radiation exposure remains a current problem or has happened in the past.

Keywords:   Chernobyl, radiological contamination, lay perspectives, multiplicity of perspectives, internal radiation doses, infrastructural solutions

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