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Powerlessness and Pollution in Alleghany County, Virginia: A Historical Analysis of Paternalism and Economic Coercion in Appalachia and its Relationship with Environmental Degradation

Wrenn, Corey (2008) Powerlessness and Pollution in Alleghany County, Virginia: A Historical Analysis of Paternalism and Economic Coercion in Appalachia and its Relationship with Environmental Degradation. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, Virginia Tech.

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Abstract

Alleghany County, an extractive community, has depended heavily upon a single paper mill known as MeadWestvaco for over a century. The purpose of this study is to explore the degree to which MeadWestvaco utilizes paternalism and economic coercion as forms of power to control and maintain community quiescence regarding the company’s negative environmental impact in Alleghany County. This paper mill has negatively affected Alleghany County relative to other Virginia communities. However, there has been very little local action against the paper mill’s environmental impact. To define and recognize paternalism and economic coercion, I undertake a historical analysis of the cotton textile industry of the Southern Piedmont and coal mining industry of Southern Appalachia, where these systems of power have been documented. In applying the indicators of paternalism and economic coercion found in these nearby Southern industries to Alleghany County, Virginia, I find that MeadWestvaco utilizes both strategies to some degree to control and influence community awareness of and response to the company’s environmental damage.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: Appalachia; environmental justice; environmental sociology; environmental inequality; paternalism; power; economic coercion; class; social inequality; southern studies
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Sociology
Depositing User: Corey Wrenn
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 10:56 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2019 09:24 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/72465 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Wrenn, Corey: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4041-0015
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