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Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis (Urban and Industrial Environments)

Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis (Urban and Industrial Environments)

Previous price: $50.00 Current price: $35.00
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher:
The MIT Press
ISBN:
9780262536868
Pages:
432
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Description

An account of the Flint water crisis shows that Flint's struggle for safe and affordable water is part of a broader struggle for democracy.

When Flint, Michigan, changed its source of municipal water from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Flint residents were repeatedly assured that the water was of the highest quality. At the switchover ceremony, the mayor and other officials performed a celebratory toast, declaring “Here's to Flint!” and downing glasses of freshly treated water. But as we now know, the water coming out of residents' taps harbored a variety of contaminants, including high levels of lead. In Flint Fights Back, Benjamin Pauli examines the water crisis and the political activism that it inspired, arguing that Flint's struggle for safe and affordable water was part of a broader struggle for democracy. Pauli connects Flint's water activism with the ongoing movement protesting the state of Michigan's policy of replacing elected officials in financially troubled cities like Flint and Detroit with appointed “emergency managers.”

Pauli distinguishes the political narrative of the water crisis from the historical and technical narratives, showing that Flint activists' emphasis on democracy helped them to overcome some of the limitations of standard environmental justice frameworks. He discusses the pro-democracy (anti–emergency manager) movement and traces the rise of the “water warriors”; describes the uncompromising activist culture that developed out of the experience of being dismissed and disparaged by officials; and examines the interplay of activism and scientific expertise. Finally, he explores efforts by activists to expand the struggle for water justice and to organize newly mobilized residents into a movement for a radically democratic Flint.

About the Author

Benjamin J. Pauli is Assistant Professor of Social Science at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.

Praise for Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis (Urban and Industrial Environments)

Flint Fights Back is part sober analysis of the water crisis, part dispatch from the frontlines of the environmental justice movement, and a moving testament to a city's fighting spirit.—American Scholar

A sadly necessary book putting the activism that emerged during the Flint water crisis into the context of the broader struggle to maintain and protect democracy. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

EcoWatch

[the book provides] a deeper analysis of the activists' movement than has been offered anywhere else.

East Village Magazine

The book is a recommended read for environmental movement and policy scholars, comparative politics scholars looking for North American case studies, as well as Americanists looking for an accessible connection to environmental justice scholarship.

Electronic Green Journal