Community Science as Resistance to Neoliberal Scientific Praxis

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Environmental Justice


Background: Flint is a site of resistance to neoliberalism specifically because of the actions of Flint residents. The impacts of this organizing are due, in part, to sustained efforts to reimagine how communities can contribute to scientific knowledge production. We argue that Flint residents’ efforts to advance a community-driven research (CDR) agenda represent an important and successful resistance to neoliberal scientific regulatory practices. Methods: We present Flint as a case study in CDR as a form of resistance. This article uses participatory observation within community-based research and draws from the personal experiences of the research team as long-term and lifelong residents of Flint who were actively involved in different aspects of community mobilizing during the water crisis. Case Study: We highlight Flint’s rich and sustained community-based participatory research history, resident-led data collection efforts to assess the environmental and health conditions, a resident-led effort to tell thestoryofthewatercrisisfromtheresidents’ perspective, and recent efforts to develop and advance a CDRmodel.Discussion: Community-led research efforts in Flint follow Leitner et al.’s typology of contesting neo-liberalism through opting into neoliberal science to advance community needs, collecting data to support direct opposition through protest and mobilization, creating alternative knowledge frames, and using CDRto disengage from the traditional scientific model.Conclusions: Through CDR, Flint residents work in direct resistance to the tacit integration of neoliberal values into science and alternatively advance community organizing as a key aspect of science toward environmental justice.








©Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.