Environmental Injustice in the United States: Myths and Realities

By James P. Lester; David W. Allen et al. | Go to book overview
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4
Modeling Environmental Injustice: Concepts, Measures, Hypotheses, and Method of Analysis

In developing a model to guide our analysis, we followed the steps suggested by W. T. Morris ( 1970). Specifically, we surveyed existing literature to piece together multiple explanations about the distribution of toxic hazards. The first wave of the existing literature indicated that race/ethnicity, social class, and political mobilization were integral to the study of environmental justice. The second wave of the literature review revealed an extensive set of additional concepts that are necessary to fully specify any inquiry regarding the frequency, distribution, or severity of any environmental harm. Many of the second-wave concepts had not been included in environmental justice studies.


The First-Wave Review of the Literature

In beginning with the first wave of the extant literature, we find several alternative explanations for environmental injustice--race/ethnicity, social class, and political mobilization. We review those preliminary explanations below and combine then into a simple tripartite model of environmental injustice.


Race/Ethnicity

There is a longitudinal body of literature that demonstrates a relationship between various minority groups and increased levels of a variety of environmental harms ( Adeola, 1994; Allen, Lester, and Hill, 1995; Anderton, et al.,

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