• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Volatile Places: A Sociology of Communities and Environmental Controversies is a thoughtful guide to the spirited public controversies that inevitably occur when environments and human communities collide. The movie "An Inconvenient Truth" based on the environmental activism of Al Gore and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina are specifically highlighted. Authors Valerie Gunter and Steve Kroll-Smith begin with a simple observation and offer a provocative case study approach to the investigation of community and environmental controversies.

The Presence of the past
The presence of the past

[Every environmental] disaster is … a unique private tragedy, inflicting its own special wounds, its own peculiar species of pain; and in order to understand fully what an event like this means to the people who survived it, one needs to know something about who they were and where they came from, how they organized their lives and what they asked of the future. … [W]e need to locate the people … in the larger sweep of history and on the wider social and cultural map.

Kai Erikson1

Local environmental conflicts always occur someplace, in a rural township, village, suburb, or perhaps a city. Places like these are always freighted with a past. Whatever is going on at ...

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