A Case of Organic Relationship between City and Contamination

  • Lorenzo Natali
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Green Criminology book series (PSGC)


In this chapter, I examine Huelva, a town in southern Spain, heavily polluted by a huge industrial and chemical plant built during the 1960s in close proximity to the town. This case of environmental crime is guided by questions such as: How do people live and give a meaning to their experiences in contaminated places? What is the link between the awareness (or, conversely, the denial) of the risks present in a contaminated environment, the experiences of environmental injustice and suffering of the inhabitants and the collective inaction? These questions provide the springboard from which I consider how we might approach the multiple ways in which particular narratives and vocabularies of motives are accepted or opposed by the victims of an environmental disaster.


Huelva Environmental contamination Radical interactionism Social perception Environmental victims 


  1. Athens, Lonnie. 1994. The Self as a Soliloquy. The Sociological Quarterly 35(3): 521–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Athens, Lonnie. 2002. ‘Domination’. The Blind Spot in Mead’s Analysis of the Social Act. Journal of Classical Sociology 2(1): 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Athens, Lonnie. 2007. Radical Interactionism. Going Beyond Mead. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37(2): 137–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Athens, Lonnie. 2013. ‘Radical’ and ‘Symbolic’ Interactionism. Demarcating Their Borders. Studies in Symbolic Interaction 42: 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Athens, Lonnie. 2015. Domination and Subjugation in Everyday Life. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Auyero, Javier and Swistun, Déborah. 2009. Flammable. Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bauman, Zygmunt. 2004. Wasted Lives. Modernity and its Outcasts. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  8. Beck, Ulrich. 2009 [2007]. World at Risk. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  9. Becker, Howard. 1997 [1963/1973]. Outsiders. Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  10. Becker, Howard. 1982. Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Becker, Howard. 1998. Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You’re Doing it. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Becker, Howard. 2014. What about Mozart? What about Murder? Reasoning from Cases. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Benach, Joan, Yasui, Yutaka, Martínez, José Manuel, Borrell, Carme, Pasarín, Maribel and Daponte, Antonio. 2004. The Geography of the Highest Mortality Areas in Spain: A Striking Cluster in the Southwestern Region of the Country. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 61(3): 280–281.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Blumer, Herbert. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Brisman, Avi. 2008. Crime-Environment Relationships and Environmental Justice. Seattle Journal for Social Justice 6(2): 727–817.Google Scholar
  16. Brisman, Avi and South, Nigel. 2013a. Introduction. Horizons, Issues and Relationships in Green Criminology. In Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology, eds. Nigel South and Avi Brisman. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Brisman, Avi and South, Nigel. 2014. Green Cultural Criminology. Constructions of Environmental Harm, Consumerism and Resistance to Ecocide. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Ceretti, Adolfo and Natali, Lorenzo. 2009. Cosmologie violente. Percorsi di vite criminali. Milano: Raffaello Cortina.Google Scholar
  19. Cianchi, John. 2013. I Talked to my Tree and my Tree Talked Back: Radical Environmentalists and their Relationships With Nature. PhD thesis. University of Tasmania. Accessed on 9 February 2016.
  20. Cianchi, John. 2015. Radical Environmentalism. Nature, Identity and More-Than-Human Agency. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Cohen, Stanley. 2001. States of Denial: Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  22. Davies, Pamela, Francis, Peter and Wyatt, Tanya, eds. 2014. Invisible Crimes and Social Harms. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. De Gramont, Patrick. 1990. Language and the Distortion of Meaning. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Dueñas, Concepción, Liger, Esperanza, Cañete, Sergio, Pérez, Mercedes and Bolívar, Juan Pedro. 2007. Exhalation of 222Rn from Phosphogypsum Piles Located at the Southwest of Spain. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 95(2–3): 63–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Frisina, Annalisa. 2013. Ricerca visuale e trasformazioni socio-culturali. Novara: UTET.Google Scholar
  26. Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  27. Hall, Matthew. 2013a. Victims of Environmental Harms and Their Role in National and International Justice. In Emerging Issues in Green Criminology. Exploring Power, Justice and Harm, eds. Reece Walters, Diane Westerhuis and Tanya Wyatt. Hampshire,UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  28. Hall, Matthew. 2013b. Victims of Environmental Harm. Rights, Recognition and Redress under National and International Law. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Hall, Matthew. 2015. Exploring Green Crime. Introducing the Legal, Social and Criminological Contexts of Environmental Harm. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Harcourt, Bernard. 2006. Language of the Gun. Youth, Crime and Public Policy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harper, Douglas. 2012. Visual Sociology. USA: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Heckenberg, Diane and White, Rob. 2013. Innovative Approaches to Researching Environmental Crime. In Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology, eds. Nigel South and Avi Brisman. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Jedlowski, Paolo and Leccardi, Carmen. 2003. Sociologia della vita quotidiana. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  34. Kearns, Robin. 2010. Seeing with Clarity: Undertaking Observational Research. In Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, ed. Iain Hay. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Latour, Bruno. 2004 [1999]. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Luttrell, Wendy. 2010. ‘A Camera is a Big Responsibility’: A Lens for Analysing Children’ Visual Voices. Visual Studies 25(3): 224–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Malighetti, Roberto. 1991. Il filosofo e il confessore. Antropologia ed ermeneutica in Clifford Geertz. Milano: Unicopli.Google Scholar
  38. McIntyre, Alice. 2008. Participatory Action Research. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Mead, George Herbert. 1963 [1934]. Mind, Self and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago: The University of Chicago press.Google Scholar
  40. Monge-Corella, Susana, García-Pérez, Javier, Aragonés, Nuria, Pollán, Marina, Pérez-Gómez, Beatriz and López-Abente, Gonzalo. 2008. Lung Cancer Mortality in Towns Near Paper, Pulp and Board Industries in Spain: A Point Source Pollution Study. BMC Public Health 8: 288.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Natali, Lorenzo. 2010. The Big Grey Elephants in the Backyard of Huelva. In Global Environmental Harm. Criminological Perspectives, ed. Rob White. Devon: Willan publishing.Google Scholar
  42. Natali, Lorenzo. 2013a. Exploring Environmental Activism: A Visual Qualitative Approach from an Eco-Global and Green-Cultural Criminological Perspective. CRIMSOC: the Journal of Social Criminology. Special Issue: ‘Green Criminology’, Autumn 2013, Waterside Press: 64–100.Google Scholar
  43. Natali, Lorenzo. 2013b. The Contemporary Horizon of Green Criminology. In International Handbook of Green Criminology, eds. Nigel South and Avi Brisman. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Natali, Lorenzo. 2014. Green criminology, victimización medioambiental y social harm. El caso de Huelva (España). Revista Crítica Penal y Poder 7: 5–34.Google Scholar
  45. Natali, Lorenzo. 2015a. Green criminology. Prospettive emergenti sui crimini ambientali. Torino: Giappichelli.Google Scholar
  46. Natali, Lorenzo. 2015b. A Critical Gaze on Environmental Victimization. In Green Harms and Crimes, ed. Ragnhild Sollund. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  47. Pérez-López, Rafael, Alvarez-Valero, Antonio and Nieto, José Miguel. 2007. Changes in Mobility of Toxic Elements During the Production of Phosphoric Acid in Fertilizer Industry of Huelva (SW Spain) and Environmental Impact of Phosphogypsum Wastes. Journal of Hazardous Materials 148(3): 745–750.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Pink, Sarah. 2012b. Situating Everyday Life. Practices and Places. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Prosser, Jon and Schwartz, Dona. 1998. Photographs within the Sociological Research Process. In Image-Based Resarch: a Sourcebook for Qualitative Researchers, ed. Jon Prosser. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Pulcini, Elena. 2013. Care of the World: Fear, Responsibility and Justice in the Global Age. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rorty, Richard. 1989. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schopenhauer, Arthur. 1998 [1851]. Della lingua e delle parole. In Sul mestiere dello scrittore e sullo stile, Arthur Schopenhauer. Milano: Adelphi. [The English translation is published in Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays by Arthur Schopenhauer, translated from the German by Eric F.J. Payne, Vol. 2, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974].Google Scholar
  53. Schutz, Alfred. 1967. The Phenomenology of the Social World. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Settis, Salvatore. 2010. Paesaggio Costituzione Cemento. La battaglia per l’ambiente contro il degrado civile. Torino: Einaudi.Google Scholar
  55. Spencer, Stephen. 2011. Visual Research Methods in the Social Sciences: Awakening Visions. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Tayibi, Hanan, Choura, Mohamed, López, Félix, Alguacil, Francisco and López-Delgado, Aurora. 2009. Environmental Impact and Management of Phosphogypsum. Journal of Environmental Management 90(8): 2377–2386.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Ward, Tony. 2009. Antiquities, Forests, and Simmel’s Sociology of Value. In Criminology and Archaeology. Studies in Looted Antiquities, eds. Simon Mackenzie and Penny Green. US: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  58. Ward, Tony. 2013. El crimen de Estado y la sociología de los Derechos Humanos. Revista Crítica Penal y Poder 5: 63–76.Google Scholar
  59. White, Rob. 2011. Transnational Environmental Crime: Toward an Eco-global Criminology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  60. White, Rob and Heckenberg, Diane. 2014. Green Criminology. An Introduction to the Study of Environmental Harm. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Williams, Christopher. 1996. An Environmental Victimology. Social Justice 23: 16–40.Google Scholar
  62. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1980. Culture and Value (2nd edn.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenzo Natali
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations