"You just get used to it": Understanding contamination and community-industry relations in San Antonio, TX




Martinez, Amanda Mia

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Drawing on participant observation, interviews, archival and secondary sources, this thesis explores how corporate strategies influence perceptions of contamination from an oil refinery located in San Antonio, TX. Theories of chronic technological disasters, normalization of production risks, and corporate social responsibility help frame the community's responses. This thesis serves as a case study of community-industry relations with the goal of providing an analysis of how information and understandings of environmental hazards are disseminated and digested. Findings demonstrate that corporate strategies influence to some degree perceptions of contamination. However, some community members are steadfast in holding the oil refinery accountable for their air emissions. Informants demonstrate that health and environmental issues and job creation do not create a zero-sum game for some community members. This thesis encourages further study on everyday interactions between community members and industry while being attentive to the critical dialogue with economic and community leaders.


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chronic technological disasters, community advisory panel, community relations, contamination, corporate social responsibility, refinery