Research activities that aim to redevelop areas that present a risk may be carried out in different ways, using various methods developed by the social sciences. Among the methods that take on a particular meaning when applied to these areas are focus groups, qualitative analysis and participant observations. Which work tools to choose, what to investigate, what to look at and for how long, and how to communicate the results of the research are among the issues that need to be addressed at the beginning of research. Research in areas that present risks implies a clear commitment to issues of development, to relationships with the environment, to the perception of well-being and the definition of risk. Through an example of research and observations carried out in Gela, the chapter provides some useful clues for social scientists working in these areas. The events analysed started in the early 1950s, when oil was discovered in Sicily and the populations enthusiastically welcomed the petrochemical plants. Then, many people thought of Sicily as Texas. Half a century later, the bright dream has turned to dark reality: congenital malformations, diseases related to industrialization, natural resources depleted, and organized crime. The chapter discusses redevelopment plans and describes the socioeconomic impact of the petrochemical industry, of which Gela is one of the Italian capitals.

Studying communities at high environmental risk: the case of Gela

PELLIZZONI, LUIGI
2014

Abstract

Research activities that aim to redevelop areas that present a risk may be carried out in different ways, using various methods developed by the social sciences. Among the methods that take on a particular meaning when applied to these areas are focus groups, qualitative analysis and participant observations. Which work tools to choose, what to investigate, what to look at and for how long, and how to communicate the results of the research are among the issues that need to be addressed at the beginning of research. Research in areas that present risks implies a clear commitment to issues of development, to relationships with the environment, to the perception of well-being and the definition of risk. Through an example of research and observations carried out in Gela, the chapter provides some useful clues for social scientists working in these areas. The events analysed started in the early 1950s, when oil was discovered in Sicily and the populations enthusiastically welcomed the petrochemical plants. Then, many people thought of Sicily as Texas. Half a century later, the bright dream has turned to dark reality: congenital malformations, diseases related to industrialization, natural resources depleted, and organized crime. The chapter discusses redevelopment plans and describes the socioeconomic impact of the petrochemical industry, of which Gela is one of the Italian capitals.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2830478
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