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Bild på Alison Gerber.

Alison Gerber

Universitetslektor

Bild på Alison Gerber.

‘Everyone’s Annoyed’ : Leveraging Uncertainty in the Smell of Others

Författare

  • Alison Gerber

Summary, in English

A growing literature illuminates the limits of claims made on the basis of sensory perception in scientized, rationalized, and bureaucratic contexts. How to understand exceptions to the rule – cases where claims based on sensory experience are taken at face value, even without corroborating evidence? Here, I focus on one such exception, in which citizen complaints about the smell of a small shantytown functioned successfully as both demands and justifications despite a lack of the kinds of instrumentally and technologically enabled corroboration that the literature would suggest are necessary to strengthen such claims. I show how complaints slotted neatly into a specific cultural structure, an olfactory cosmology in which ‘bad air’ that endangers health can be identified by smell and requires ongoing management and amelioration, and where adherence to hygienic norms is required for full moral citizenship. The case suggests ways that the apparent weaknesses of olfactory claims might allow them to be uniquely weaponized in social and political life, and shows how such claims can exploit shared norms, values, and meanings to enroll others in the demand for action.

Avdelning/ar

  • Sociologi

Publiceringsår

2021

Språk

Engelska

Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie

Cultural Sociology

Dokumenttyp

Artikel i tidskrift

Förlag

SAGE Publications

Ämne

  • Sociology

Nyckelord

  • hygiene education
  • olfactory claims
  • public culture
  • science and technology studies
  • senses
  • sensorial citizenship

Status

Epub

ISBN/ISSN/Övrigt

  • ISSN: 1749-9755