Š The lack of research into the subjectivity of the health risk assessment process – i.e. the critique of science
Š The differing modes for creating, communicating, and receiving risk in which the resident’s perspective is not valued – i.e. the critique of power
Š The impact of race and class on furthering inequities and disparities in the environmental health risks message – i.e. the critique of policy.
Using this preliminary understanding of the main anthropological issue as both motivation and justification, this project focuses on exploring the differing health risk perspectives that exist in situations that are labeled “environmental injustices.” In particular, this research project has used as its case study the Mitchell Heights neighborhood in South Brooksville that is home to the five-acre site of the former Hernando County Public Works compound. This compound has a history of contamination, governmental avoidance, and resident agitation. The on-going discussions concerning Mitchell Heights have served as this project’s ethnographic core.
Using a low-income African-American neighborhood in a small southern town, this ethnographic research project studied how environmental risk assessments - its methodologies, communication and practices - have addressed both the measured and the lived experience of health risk. Furthermore, this project heavily examines how race and class can deepen a population's exposure to, and perception of, health risk.
This ethnographic project is designed to answer the following research questions:
1. How do the resident’s of Mitchell Heights perceive the contamination at the former DPW site, the risks associated with the site, and how does the site affect their everyday lives?