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Refining ExpertiseHow Responsible Engineers Subvert Environmental Justice Challenges$
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Gwen Ottinger

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814762370

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814762370.001.0001

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Passive Revolution and Resistance

Passive Revolution and Resistance

(p.169) 6 Passive Revolution and Resistance
Refining Expertise

Gwen Ottinger

NYU Press

This chapter examines how notions of responsible choice, entrepreneurship, and reasoned, egalitarian discussion create significant ambivalences that made it possible for Orion Refining to manipulate New Sarpy residents, resulting in the Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy's decision to accept a settlement agreement with the refinery. It shows how the same understandings of personhood and responsible action also make it possible for petrochemical companies to secure the acquiescence and even support of fenceline communities without resorting to Orion's brand of heavy-handed tactics. It also discusses petrochemical facilities' response to the criticisms of the environmental justice movement in terms of what Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci called a “passive revolution.” Finally, it considers the evolving expertise in the environmental justice movement and the implications of neoliberalism for science, social justice, and democracy.

Keywords:   responsible choice, entrepreneurship, Orion Refining, New Sarpy, Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy, personhood, petrochemical companies, environmental justice movement, passive revolution, expertise

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