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Rationalizing risk

Arguing over safety on the Firth of Forth

Achim Schlüter and Peter Phillimore

This article examines the centrality of 'safety' in Grangemouth's recent politics. Scotland's main petrochemical center is a town dominated for well over fifty years by a major BP complex. In a context of extensive redundancies at BP, new insecurities surrounding the future of the company's Grangemouth site, and a series of recent accidents, as well as controversy over planning applications from other chemical companies, the town has been pushed into unusually searching questioning about both safety and economic security. This article explores the different lines of reasoning and rationalization on risk, safety, and the future advanced by regulators, BP, and residents and their political representatives. We emphasize how important the familiarity of petrochemical technology has been in public responses to the question of safety, in contrast to many environmental risk controversies. And we argue that safety has provided a focus for social, moral, economic, and political perspectives on the town's present circumstances and future prospects to be played out.

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Enrolling genetic technology in regulation

Struggles for recognition by biotechnologists in Norway

Sara Skodbo

This article addresses the need to overcome theoretical weaknesses of both technologically and socially deterministic accounts of technological development. Technology does not simply 'impact' on local contexts, but nor does it act as a tabula rasa, subject to the free attribution of meaning by local social actors. Expanding on theoretical developments in the anthropology of art (Gell 1998) and gender and technology (Strathern 1988, 1999, 2001), the essay seeks to explore genetic technology as a social agent and as a technological 'index'. Examining a case of genetic technology regulation and innovation in Norway, the article argues that technology is best understood as an agent that is engaged with on an affective basis by those who interact with it.

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Sicilian Futures in the Making

Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats

Mara Benadusi

Discourses and practices of anticipation occupy a hypertrophic space in contexts where uncontrolled industrial growth has inflicted grave damage on peoples and territories, even triggering environmental disasters. This article explores the use of nonhuman species as anticipatory devices in a petrochemical terminal in Sicily, focusing on public representations of three species: scavenger bacteria that play a cleansing role and underline citizens’ moral responsibility to secure their best possible futures through bioscience; migrating flamingos that breed under the petrochemical chimneys, raising the possibility of hopefulness by highlighting ecosystem resilience; and fish affected by spina bifida, which reveal human health status in advance, communicating the need to live in preparation for potential diseases. The analysis reveals the highly contentious character of these anticipatory devices and the contested ideas about possible futures they imply, thus shedding light on the ecological frictions that have repercussions locally and globally, in discourse and social practice.

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Forgotten moralities of agrarian economy in Bali

Production and exchange, business and friendship

Graeme MacRae

. These changes were primarily technological—based on new “high yielding” varieties dependent on external inputs of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. These changes and their consequences have been extensively documented elsewhere (e.g. Perfecto et

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Communities of Practice at the Cidade do Saber

Plural Citizenship and Social Inclusion in Brazil

Carla Guerrón Montero

the nation. In fact, Camaçari is one of the richest municipalities in northeastern Brazil, with a GDP of $15,891,624 billion (U.S.). Economic activities revolve around the petrochemical industry, the most important source of income since 1978 ( Roos

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Tatiana Argounova-Low, Oxana Zemtsova and Anna Bara

designated a European capital of culture bring to mind the aspirations of another—Siberian—region that specializes in, among other industries, the refinement of petrochemical products, to push the Novosibirsk State University to enter the top 100 universities

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Regional integration from “below” in West Africa

A study of transboundary town-twinning of Idiroko (Nigeria) and Igolo (Benin)

Olukayode A. Faleye

mainly to subsidies enjoyed by Nigerians. Gasoline and other petrochemicals are often smuggled through jerry cans and sold openly in bott les, kegs and drums at the Igolo axis of the borderland. 3 This pattern of relations is largely informal and

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Beth Gutelius, Janet Gibson, Dhan Zunino Singh, Steven J. Gold, Alexandra Portmann, Peter Cox, Rudi Volti, Adrian Drummond-Cole and Steven D. Spalding

petrochemicals in the port of New Orleans (150). Her account breaks down simplistic dichotomies to reveal forms of sociality and meaning making between residents and workers along the Mississippi “chemical corridor.” Correspondingly, Satya Savitzsky and John Urry

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Kira Mahamud Angulo and Yovana Hernández Laina

seen in figures 7 and 8 . Figure 7 “Petrochemical facility of Tarragona.” 81 Figure 8 “Valdeajos (Burgos): the first Spanish oil well” 82 (1978). Textbooks from the late 1970s onwards reflect the increasing presence of tourism ( figure 9

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US–México border states and the US military–industrial complex

A Global Space for expanding transnational capital

Juan Manuel Sandoval Palacios

, 7 agosto 2013). 11 On the US side, besides the high-tech industrial complexes along the border states, there are huge oil fields in California and Texas, and the biggest petrochemical industrial complex is located in Houston. Big mineral deposits