Planning for Injustice: A Case Study in Discourses on Environmental Justice and State Rationale in the City of Eugene
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For years, West Eugene, Oregon residents have struggled for acknowledgment of unjust government practices in the area, while agencies have been slow to acknowledge the negative social and environmental health outcomes experienced by the neighborhood. Examining land use/zoning and air quality agencies in Eugene, this study identifies the way the “state” engages in discourses regarding inequity that are used as a means to deflect political criticism and maintain social order, effectively insulating its actions from public input or scrutiny. By examining discourses from the ‘top’, this study finds the “state” deflects criticism and insulates its actions through four processes presented by Habermas: use of scientific discourse in development of government policy, management of political demand through neocorporatist decision-making, prioritization of capital accumulation in organizational structure, and increase of decision-making power within the state. Adding to the literature, this study finds a fifth process: “homogenization” of the public.