Daniel Faber (1961-)
Judith A. Perrolle, Jeffrey S. Juris (1971-), Thomas Estabrook
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
College of Social Sciences & Humanities, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
environmental health, Bisphenol-A, chemicals policy, networks, social movements
Sociology, Environmental policy, Social networks
Community Engagement | Sociology
The chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been linked to a range of negative health outcomes including reproductive and developmental disorders, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. These scientific findings have resulted in an ongoing public debate over the safety of the chemical. Throughout the course of these debates, the chemical industry and environmental health activists have been visible contenders in the battle over the chemical's safety and the need for regulation.
The central purpose of this study is to examine how environmental policy-making arenas in the United States are influenced and shaped by both corporate elites and by social movement actors. In particular, this research aims to clarify how differences in power and resources influence BPA regulatory decisions at the state-level. The analysis relies on multiple sources of data including 1) interviews with 20 individuals associated with BPA social movement work; 2) publicly available documents that provide an understanding and overview of the actions of the BPA industry; and 3) media coverage that demonstrates the salience of social movement frames regarding BPA. This research is informed primarily by power structure research, the social movements literature and is also shaped by network theory and recent work on the manufacturing of scientific doubt.
This research revealed that chemical industry elites were able to access decision-making structures through financial contributions and the manipulation of scientific data. In contrast BPA activists, organizers, and scientists achieved political influence through the strategic development of networked organizational structures and through the deployment of unique and emotive frames that were highly resonant with both the public and the media. The recent passage of numerous state-level regulations controlling BPA suggests that the innovative organizational structures and tactical repertoires employed by BPA actors were relatively successful in influencing policy makers.
Lubitow, Amy, "The battle over Bisphenol-A: United States Chemical policy and the new networked environmental politics" (2011). Sociology Dissertations. Paper 11. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20001079
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