Toxic Town: IBM, Pollution, and Industrial Risks
In 1924, IBM built its first plant in Endicott, New York. Now, Endicott is a contested toxic waste site. With its landscape thoroughly contaminated by carcinogens, Endicott is the subject of one of the nation’s largest corporate-state mitigation efforts. Yet despite the efforts of IBM and the U.S. government, Endicott residents remain skeptical that the mitigation systems employed were designed with their best interests at heart. In Toxic Town, Peter C. Little tracks and critically diagnoses the experiences of Endicott residents as they learn to live with high-tech pollution, community transformation, scientific expertise, corporate-state power, and risk mitigation technologies. By weaving together the insights of anthropology, political ecology, disaster studies, and science and technology studies, the book explores questions of theoretical and practical import for understanding the politics of risk and the ironies of technological disaster response in a time when IBM’s stated mission is to build a “Smarter Planet.” Little critically reflects on IBM’s new corporate tagline, arguing for a political ecology of corporate social and environmental responsibility and accountability that places the social and environmental politics of risk mitigation front and center. Ultimately, Little argues that we will need much more than hollow corporate taglines, claims of corporate responsibility, and attempts to mitigate high-tech disasters to truly build a smarter planet.
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action activists advocacy African American anthropology Broome County cancer chapter chemicals citizens concern contaminated communities corporate debates deindustrialization deterritoriality Donna Lupardo emerging Endicott residents environment environmental health environmental justice ethnographic experience expose focus going grassroots groundwater health risk high-tech homeowners IBM-Endicott plume IBM’s impact indoor air industrial involved issue ITRC Latour mitigation landscape monitoring narratives NEJA tour neoliberal NIOSH NYSDEC perspective plant plume residents political ecology pollution problems property devaluation public health questions RAGE remediation renters residents I interviewed residents living response risk mitigation risk society ronmental Rust Belt scientific scientists sense Smarter Planet social spill struggle sub-slab Superfund survey talk TCE contamination TCE exposure TCE plume TCE risk technocapitalism things tion toxic trichloroethylene understand vapor intrusion mitigation vapor intrusion risk vapor intrusion science vapor mitigation systems VMSs volatile organic compounds WBESC members workers York