John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Dealing with social and environmental inequalities of health and well-being: the importance of personal experience and of environmental and social justice Volume 19, issue 4, July-August 2020

Université de Paris Saclay
11, boulevard D’Alembert 78280 Guyancourt
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In France, the fight against ecological inequalities has followed a normative approach to environmental quality, which fits into the collection of tools for assessing and developing public health initiatives. The authorities in charge of these policies nonetheless recognize that they have not managed to prevent socio-spatial segregation. Furthermore, this approach takes only pollutant exposure into account.

On the other hand, the approach in English-speaking countries, based on environmental justice principles, was forged in collective struggles centered on social and identity issues.

Our results focus on what constitutes well-being in residential settings. They are based on: (1) discussions held during a seminar on environmental justice, involving elected officials, representatives of institutions, and economic and civic acteurs; (2) a large collection of 200 interviews, conducted in four priority neighborhoods, aiming to capture the residents’ day-to-day experiences.

We highlight epistemological conflicts about environmental quality and the meaning of civic participation, as well as misunderstandings, for instance, about such terms as objectivity and acceptability.