Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

What else can we endure? Navigating uncertain environmental futures in the United States Gulf Coast  
Kathleen Lynch (New York University)

Short abstract:

Using in-depth interviews with disaster-exposed residents of the US Gulf Coast, this paper explores how communities with cumulative environmental exposure make sense of competing existential risks and anticipate their uncertain climate futures.

Long abstract:

Environmental disasters are increasing in frequency and severity and pose substantial risk to health and well-being. The United States Gulf Coast is an environmental ‘sacrifice zone’ containing the largest density of petrochemical infrastructure in the Western Hemisphere (Davies, 2018) where acute extreme exposure events amplify the ‘slow violence’ (Nixon, 2011) of toxic pollution. Yet despite growing technoscientific attention toward predicting multi-hazard risks (Binita et al., 2020), there has been little investigation into the ways Gulf Coast residents negotiate the existential threats of toxic exposure in the everyday. Drawing from in-depth interviews with disaster-exposed Gulf Coast residents, this paper explores the ways communities navigate and perceive health risks—particularly cancer risk—in the context of cumulative environmental exposure. Drawing on Fortun’s et al.’s (2021) Quotidian Anthropocenes concept, I examine how the dual existential risks of climate change and carcinogenesis become intertwined, felt, and negotiated in everyday decision-making. Here, interlocutors exhibit ‘toxic frustration’ (Singer 2011) at perceived technoscientific ignorance of their own environmental suffering in favor of large-scale coastal restoration projects. In the absence of any ‘post-event’ imaginary, those with cumulative exposure become trapped in a continuous mode of ‘recalibration’ (Coleman and Lyon, 2023), engaging in a process of retrospective accounting to make sense of—and anticipate—uncertain futures. Grounded in these narratives and in dialogue with a Sociology of Futures, this paper posits that risk perception in the context of cumulative exposures manifests as "anticipatory loss" of place and health status, which informs everyday imaging of and resistance to future events.

Traditional Open Panel P225
Existential threats and catastrophes in the everyday: from the global to quotidian
  Session 1