Título: Rethinking activism and expertise within environmental health conflicts


This review presents the contributions of research on the
intersection of science and social movements, its theoretical and
methodological limitations, and potential solutions for its further development.
Three different types of relationships between activism and knowledge have been
identified within environmental health conflicts: (i) lay – activists
requesting help from sympathetic scientists in order to conduct independent
studies; (ii) expert – activists promoting new research agendas and sub
within established scientific disciplines; and (iii) expert – activists acting
beyond the limits of the academic community and partnering with social
movements. In this review, I argue that much of the existing literature
considers expertise as “something” possessed by individuals, and heavily
emphasizes the difference between “lay” and “expert” activists. This entails
two main theoretical reductionisms: (i) reification of knowledge; and (ii)
overlooking the contribution of activism to expertise and vice versa. I propose
considering expertise as the property of a network and focusing future research
within environmental health conflicts on the co
emergence and construction
of a network of expertise (Eyal 2013) or ethno
epistemic assemblage
(Irwin & Michael 2003) and social movements. Through this symmetrical
network approach, we will be able to develop a more consistent theory of the co
of activism and expertise, as well as its political implication to fight
environmental health injustice.

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