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nataliajas2019_0.mp4 (Seminari: The human cost of pesticides. Hyper-Segmentation as a Process of Invizibilisation)
The regulation of agricultural pesticides has been the subject of research in the humanities and social sciences, political science and law since the 1970s. Various mechanisms by which regulations have contributed to the social and political invisibility of the harmful effects of pesticides on health and the environment have been highlighted: subjection of health and environmental issues to economic issues ; failure to take into account certain issues in political and regulatory areas, limited or inadequat knowledge production systems on possible harmful effects; multiple biases in scientific expertise ; primacy of politics over expertise... In this paper, I would like to describe and analyse a mechanism that has not yet been fully considered by the literature: how the development of regulations to deal with the health and environmental effects of agricultural pesticides has been based on a hyper-segmentation of problems, a hyper-segmentation that has led to the long-term structural invisibility of certain issues.
To do this, I will analyze the development of regulation on agricultural pesticides in France over the long twentieth century by showing how this development has been accompanied by the implementation of reasoning that segmente in multiple ways the problems posed pesticides: substance by substance, occupational health vs. environmental health vs. environment, medium by medium (water, soil, air, plants,...), tasks by task, type of people by types of people (consumers, residents, manipulators, agricultural employees, farmers) etc... This hyper-segmentation, driven by a proliferation of regulatory texts forming part of different laws and by a progressive sophistication of the procedures by which harmful health and environmental effects have been assessed, has led to invisibility and the failure to take into account many problems: poly-exposures to the same molecule ; cross-exposures to several molecules ; possible deleterious effects of these different types of exposures ; the use of pesticides in certain sectors (breeding as pesticides and biocides, post-harvest treatment) ; the presence of pesticides in certain media (air, soil) ; the exposure of certain people (women, teenagers, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, extension workers, mecanics, vetsâ€¦). To show this dynamic of hyper-segmentation and associated processes of invisibilization, I will focus on three important moments in the development of pesticide regulation in France: the 1916 decree-law on poisonous substances, the 1943 law on the organization of the control of pesticides for agricultural use and various European directives of the 1970s and 1980s aiming at harmonizing the management of certain harmful effects of pesticides within the EEC.
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