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Congratulations edger!

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Or rather Dr. Sara Edge

Congrat's on defending your thesis today for the degree Doctor of Philosophy through McMaster University's School of Geography and Earth Sciences.

The world can always use more Scientists, I would know ;)

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Shucks. Thanks so much guys! It has been a challenging road juggling motherhood and health concerns and such but it has been an interesting ride that's for sure. I can honestly say that this board has been with me the whole way through. A welcome source of distraction, humour, company and grounding when it was very much needed. Happy to have this lifted off my shoulders so I can gear up for the next stage. Must say I can't WAIT to let 'er all hang at All Good. Hot damn...

What was your thesis, if you don't mind me asking?

TITLE: The socio-spatial construction and negotiation of knowledge, power and influence in the governance of environmental health risks from toxic chemicals in Canada

ABSTRACT:

Environmental health effects from chemicals are an example of risks associated with modern, industrialized, technologically advanced, capitalist society. In Canada approximately 23,000 substances have been in commercial use despite never being assessed for their risks to human health and the environment. The assessment, management and regulation of environmental health risks from “existing†chemical substances can be viewed as an emerging and contested domain of governance whereby an increasing number of diverse stakeholders are seeking to shape its constituent actors, rule systems, knowledge inputs, and orientation. Using a multi-method case-study of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, this thesis examines how governance and decision-making rationales, knowledge inputs, influence, and authority become constructed, negotiated and (de)legitimized in practice, and the role and significance of “space†in these processes. Sources of data include scientific, policy and legal documents, participant observation and key informant interviews. Findings reveal that stakeholders divergently interpret evidence and exploit scientific uncertainties using various tactics that (de)legitimize particular claims and policy prescriptions to favour their interests. This has significant implications for how “precaution†and “weight-of-evidence†are operationalized. The concepts of “scale-frames†and “boundary-work†reveal how stakeholders construct and spatially bound political and epistemic legitimacy and authority through contested definitions and rationales of accessibility, inclusion and exclusion. To gain the influence and legitimacy that is needed for effectively shaping environmental health policy stakeholders must (re)define the jurisdictional and epistemic spaces in which knowledge, evidence and rationales are created and institutionalized. Bringing contested modes of subject-making around expertise and technical capacity to the fore assists in explaining why particular forms of knowledge production and interpretations of evidence are adopted while others are downplayed. This in turn perpetuates particular kinds of risk assessment and management tools and approaches that benefit some and marginalize others. Scientific and political deliberations are situated within existing relationships of power and production between modern administative states, big industry and mega-science. Thus prevailing "governmentalities", logics and tools of chemical management are driven by, while mutually reinforcing broader neo-liberal political-economic ideals and interests.

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Shucks. Thanks so much guys! It has been a challenging road juggling motherhood and health concerns and such but it has been an interesting ride that's for sure. I can honestly say that this board has been with me the whole way through. A welcome source of distraction, humour, company and grounding when it was very much needed. Happy to have this lifted off my shoulders so I can gear up for the next stage. Must say I can't WAIT to let 'er all hang at All Good. Hot damn...
What was your thesis, if you don't mind me asking?

TITLE: The socio-spatial construction and negotiation of knowledge, power and influence in the governance of environmental health risks from toxic chemicals in Canada

ABSTRACT:

Environmental health effects from chemicals are an example of risks associated with modern, industrialized, technologically advanced, capitalist society. In Canada approximately 23,000 substances have been in commercial use despite never being assessed for their risks to human health and the environment. The assessment, management and regulation of environmental health risks from “existing†chemical substances can be viewed as an emerging and contested domain of governance whereby an increasing number of diverse stakeholders are seeking to shape its constituent actors, rule systems, knowledge inputs, and orientation. Using a multi-method case-study of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, this thesis examines how governance and decision-making rationales, knowledge inputs, influence, and authority become constructed, negotiated and (de)legitimized in practice, and the role and significance of “space†in these processes. Sources of data include scientific, policy and legal documents, participant observation and key informant interviews. Findings reveal that stakeholders divergently interpret evidence and exploit scientific uncertainties using various tactics that (de)legitimize particular claims and policy prescriptions to favour their interests. This has significant implications for how “precaution†and “weight-of-evidence†are operationalized. The concepts of “scale-frames†and “boundary-work†reveal how stakeholders construct and spatially bound political and epistemic legitimacy and authority through contested definitions and rationales of accessibility, inclusion and exclusion. To gain the influence and legitimacy that is needed for effectively shaping environmental health policy stakeholders must (re)define the jurisdictional and epistemic spaces in which knowledge, evidence and rationales are created and institutionalized. Bringing contested modes of subject-making around expertise and technical capacity to the fore assists in explaining why particular forms of knowledge production and interpretations of evidence are adopted while others are downplayed. This in turn perpetuates particular kinds of risk assessment and management tools and approaches that benefit some and marginalize others. Scientific and political deliberations are situated within existing relationships of power and production between modern administative states, big industry and mega-science. Thus prevailing "governmentalities", logics and tools of chemical management are driven by, while mutually reinforcing broader neo-liberal political-economic ideals and interests.

Congratulations! Interesting looking piece. A lot of overlap with the stuff I do actually, though I look at it from an international development perspective.

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