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Revista iberoamericana de ciencia tecnología y sociedad

On-line version ISSN 1850-0013


VACCAREZZA, Leonardo Silvio. Conflict over a specific technological intervention: environmental risk perception, knowledge and ambivalencein the mining exploitation of Bajo de la Alumbrera. Rev. iberoam. cienc. tecnol. soc. [online]. 2011, vol.6, n.17, pp. 241-260. ISSN 1850-0013.

The population of a small town in Argentina is experiencing fear of damages caused to  the environment, to production and to health by the open cast mining that is taking place  in their territory since 1997. This fear has generated a conflict between experts and the  local population. Both sides deny and discredit each other. This paper aims at exploring  the local population's rejection to the mining exploitation in their surroundings as a way  of installing a new debate over the relationship between experts and general public in  the construction of knowledge. The approach of this paper is micro-social and centres  itself on the arguments provided by different actors that participate in the conflict.  Throughout the text that follows, these arguments are carefully discriminated in order to  define the subjective positions of the participants. There is also place for an extensive  exploration of the importance and meaning the knowledge of experts has on non experts  and of the role that common people's knowledge plays in issues concerning pollution. Finally, this paper analyses all aspects related to the situation that have had an influence  on the subjective perception of local people and, particularly, in regard of the  ambivalence they show when giving their opinion about the risk that open cast mining  represents to their territory.

Keywords : Ambivalence; Environmental conflict; Local knowledge; Expert-lay interaction.

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