Date of Award

5-2020

Document Type

Thesis open access

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Alfred Montoya

Second Advisor

Benjamin Sosnaud

Abstract

Although the use of lead-based paint in residential buildings was banned in 1978, many aging buildings still contain hazardous lead content. Government systems have begun treating this environmental hazard as an issue of public health, organizing intervention according to measurable health indicators such as the blood lead level (BLL). As a result, public health norms organize and dictate who receives state assistance in removing lead from their home, constructing a specific demographic of “qualified” recipients of aid. Using qualitative interviews with residents and city officials, this thesis will analyze a local lead abatement program in San Antonio, Texas in order to evaluate how these categories of qualifications are constructed around dominant forms of public health intervention. I find that this production of the qualified translates the material issue of lead-based paint’s existence in structures into a project that is measurable on bodies and populations, making it more legible for a neoliberal system of resource allocation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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