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Resigned ActivismLiving with Pollution in Rural China$
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Anna Lora-Wainwright

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036320

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036320.001.0001

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“Undermining” Environmental Health: “Madness,” Struggles for Clean Water, and the Challenges of Intervention

“Undermining” Environmental Health: “Madness,” Struggles for Clean Water, and the Challenges of Intervention

(p.89) 4 “Undermining” Environmental Health: “Madness,” Struggles for Clean Water, and the Challenges of Intervention
Resigned Activism

Anna Lora-Wainwright

The MIT Press

Chapter 4 describes the diachronic evolution of lead and zinc mining in Qiancun village and its effects. Mining entrenched socio-economic stratification and caused shifting and uneven environmental health impacts. It affected livelihood pathways available to the local population, their perceptions of the benefits and effects of mining, and the ways in which they valued the environment. This chapter takes a closer look at how dynamics of resigned activism overlapped with marginalisation and accusations of “madness” waged against one of the foremost figures in local activism. It explores the intersections between one issue which particularly troubled locals—provision of safe drinking water—local politics and lack of trust in local officials. While concerns with water served to unify the local population, which reinforced feelings of resignation. Finally, the chapter elucidates some of the dynamics animating the interdisciplinary project of which my fieldwork was part and some of the elements which shaped what experimental intervention pathways were explored and embraced at an early stage in this ongoing project.

Keywords:   Social and economic stratification, Madness, Water provision, Pollution, Heavy metal mining, Uneven environmental impact, Interdisciplinary research, Collaborations between researchers and local government, Local politics, Trust

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