Asbestos activism and environmental health policy in South Korea : a study of knowledge production about hazard in the compensation regime = 한국의 석면운동과 환경보건정책: 보상레짐 내에서 위험물질에 대한 지식생산a study of knowledge production about hazard in the compensation regime
This dissertation examines the knowledge production about hazards in the compensation regime, with a case of asbestos in South Korea. On the increasing environmental health concerns, Asbestos Injury Relief Act was passed in 2010 for compensating the victims. This dissertation aims to portray the compensation system as an arena of active discussions about asbestos hazard, rather than a static legal and administrative system and describes the ways in which knowledge about the hazard is produced before and after the compensation law was passed. Asbestos activism and environmental health policy are important areas for knowledge production. Environmental activists and patients, government scientists and medical experts, health center staff and local residents have all participated in the debates about asbestos hazard, especially on the problems related to measurement of asbestos pollution, diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases, and the assessment of the relationship between the pollution and health consequences. The analyses of the published and unpublished documents, participatory observation of asbestos activism and Asbestos Environmental Health Centers, and interviews with activists, patients, and experts show that producing, challenging, and contesting knowledge about asbestos hazard are central to sustaining asbestos activism and implementing health policies on asbestos within the compensation regime.