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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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(p.159) Conclusion
The Politics of Invisibility

Olga Kuchinskaya

The MIT Press

The concluding chapter of the book compares the near-complete public disappearance of radiation risks in Belarus after Chernobyl to the dynamic of the social construction of knowledge and ignorance in cases of other imperceptible, chronic, and pervasive hazards, including in Western contexts. Public visibility of such hazards depends on whose voices can be heard and which groups have what kinds of institutional and infrastructural support. The chapter also argues that public debates on the magnitude of risks should consider what social conditions ensure the sustained production and consideration of empirical data and contextually-sensitive knowledge. The chapter concludes with the discussion of the role of the civil society and with some thoughts on tactics that might be used to promote greater awareness of particular imperceptible hazards.

Keywords:   Chernobyl, radiation risks, social construction of ignorance, imperceptible hazards, chronic hazards, civil society, infrastructures

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