2 CLPEResearchPaper21/2010 Vol.06No.5(2010) DaynaNadineScott BodyPolluted:QuestionsofScale,GenderandRemedy Abstract:Thispaperoffersacritiqueoftortremediesgroundedinfeministtheoryofthebody. Itdemonstrateshowtortlawisinvestedinanotionofanindividuatedlegalsubject,whichfails tocapturethecriticalinterconnectednessofbodiesinasocial,political,historical,andcolonial context.takingthe injury ofendocrinedisruptioninacanadianaboriginalcommunityasan exampleofacontemporarypollutionharm,theanalysisconsidersvarioustortsonaconceptual level,andwhattheymightoffertheaamjiwnaangfirstnationinthewayofremedies.ineach case,whatthetortcandodependsonhowtheinjury,andthescaleatwhichtheentitytaken tohavesufferedtheinjury,isconceived. Keywords: tort law; feminist theory of the body; definition of injury ; remedies; pollution; environmentaljustice;endocrinedisruption JELClassification:K13,K32 DaynaNadineScott AssistantProfessor,OsgoodeHallLawSchool, YorkUniversity,Toronto,Canada
3 2010] BODY POLLUTED BodyPolluted:QuestionsofScale,GenderandRemedy DaynaNadineScott* This paper explores whether tort law can provide a remedy for the injury of endocrine disruption,atanindividualoracollectivelevel.manyactivistsintheenvironmentaljustice movement want to be able to say unequivocally that the genderbending of endocrine disruptionisanew,dramaticandhorrifyingharm.buttakingtheexampleofthedecliningsex ratiooftheaamjiwnaangfirstnation,acanadianaboriginalcommunityexperiencingchronic chemical pollution, demonstrates that finding a harm or injury in law is fraught with difficulties.onanindividuallevel,analteredsexratio(thenumberofboybabiesbornrelative tothenumberofgirls)cannotconstituteaharm.noonemothercouldeverprovethatshe specificallywasharmed;thatshespecificallyshouldhaveconceivedaboy.butherchancesof welcomingasonseemtobelessthantheyshouldbe.theconcern,fromtheperspectiveofthe First Nation, is essentially one of cultural survival.it is the collective loss of a viable future. Thus the notion of a collective harm highlights the fact that this problem is situated in the contextofanaboriginalcommunityalreadystruggling,asmanyare,withstemmingthelossof cultureandtraditionamongsttheirpeople.further,becauseemergingenvironmentalhealth harmsareoftenlocalizedandconcentratedaroundtheworstpollutionsources,andbecause theytendtobedistributedalongraceandclassdifferentials,endocrinedisruptionisacentral concernoftheenvironmentaljusticemovement. Understanding the nature of contemporary pollution harms or injuries is essential to the craftingofeffectiveremedies.inparticular,thepaperseekstodestabilizethetendencyinthe environmental justice movement to conceptualize harms on the basis of unquestioned assumptionsaboutwhatis natural andwhatis normal thatflyinthefaceofdevelopmentsin sexandgendertheory.italsoseekstochallengetortscholarstoimaginelawdifferently.legal scholarshavebegunexploringtheideathattortlawis toocorporeal thatitistetheredtoo tightlytoproofofphysicaldamagesandshouldmovetowardstherecognitionofinterests baseddamageassessmentsinspecificcontexts.butevenwhererecentscholarshipintorthas includedsomecallsforexpansionofwhatshouldcountasharmorphysicaldamage,thescale atwhichwelooktofindsuchdamageremainsprimarilyattheleveloftheindividual,thesingle unitarylegalsubject.perhaps,ashasbeensuggested,weshouldmoveawayfromassessing physicaldamageonlyonthebasisofa factuallyobservable changeinthephysicalstructureof persons,andadoptamorecontextualapproachbasedonsocialperceptionsofdamage.the way that pollution manifests, and the blameworthiness of its perpetuation in certain communities,demandsthattortlawevolve,andthatwe,aslegalscholars,workcreativelyto devisenewlegalremediesforemerginginjuries. This paper offers a critique of tort remedies grounded in feminist theory of the body.it exposeshowtortlawisinvestedinanotionofanindividuatedlegalsubject,whichinthiscase failstocapturethecriticalinterconnectednessofbodiesinacommunityinasocial,political, historical,andcolonialcontext.theanalysisconsidersvarioustortsonaconceptuallevel,and
4 whattheymightoffertheaamjiwnaangfirstnationinthewayofremedies.ineachcase,what the tort can do depends on how the injury, and the scale at whichthe entity taken to have sufferedtheinjury,isconceived. The paper finds that none of these remedies are adequately able to account for way the pollution has saturated the community, been soaked up in bodies, and altered social and cultural relations. But brainstorming around tort law s potential remedies, at various scales, allows for the body to be opened up for the genderbending synthetic chemicals flowing through bodies to become visible, for their free movement between individuals and their worlds to be exposedto the point that our insistence on a fixed bodily boundary, and a centrally controlled self, begins to break down. Further, the analysis demonstrates that the scaleatwhichweconceiveofan injury shapesthedeterminationofwhethertheinjuryisseen as remediable, and on what terms. These conceptions and determinations then, in turn, shapeideasabouttheallocationofblamefortheharm.essentially,theargumentisthatour constructions of injury where and how we choose to find itcarry consequences for communitiesaffectedbycontemporarypollutionharms. The paper consists of three parts. In the first part, I review the contamination of the AamjiwnaangFirstNation,anddescribehowthestruggleofthissmallreservecommunity,and their campaign against endocrine disruption, has garnered the attention of environmental justiceactivistsworldwide. 1 Inthesecondpart,Iexplainhowtortlawmightconceiveofthe harmorthe injury thatisvisitedontheaamjiwnaangcommunity,includingwhatthegender dimensionofthatharmmightbe.finally,inthethirdpart,ibegintobrainstormaroundthe waythatvarioustortsmightoperateatdifferentscalesofinjurytoprovidearemedyforthe Aamjiwnaangpeople. I.PARTI:THECONTAMINATIONOFAAMJIWNAANGFIRSTNATION For the residents of Aamjiwnaang First Nation, living in the shadow of Canada s Chemical Valley,arecentepidemiologicalstudyconfirmedwhattheyhadsuspectedforyearsthatthe * author would like to thank the organizers and participants of the Injuries Without Remedies 2010 Access to JusticeSymposiumatLoyolaLawSchool,March26,2010,especiallyAnneBloom,withoutwhoseenthusiasmand encouragement this paper would not have been completed. The symposium was thoughtprovoking and challenging,andibenefittedtremendously.ialsobenefittedfromtheinvitationtopresenttheworkinprogress atafacultyseminarattheuniversityofwesternontariolawschoolinmarch2010.nicoleletourneauprovided expertresearchassistance. 1 This case study draws largely on work that has been published elsewhere: Dayna Nadine Scott, Gender Benders :SexandLawintheConstitutionofPollutedBodies,(2009)17Fem.LegalStud.241andDaynaNadine Scott, ConfrontingChronicPollution:ASocioLegalAnalysisofRiskandPrecaution (2008)46:2OsgoodeHallL.J. 293.
5 2010] BODY POLLUTED community s sex ratio (the number of boy babies born relative to the number of girls) is decliningatanalarmingrate.itis widelyspeculatedthatchronicexposuretotoxicchemical pollution,specificallyagroup ofendocrinedisruptingchemicalsprovocativelynicknamedthe genderbenders,isresponsible. The Aamjiwnaang First Nation is a community of approximately 900 Aanishinaabek people livingonareservelocatedimmediatelyadjacenttosarnia snotoriouspetrochemicalcorridor. This area of southwestern Ontario, located at the southern tip of Lake Huron, bordering Michigan, USA, houses one of Canada s largest concentrations of industry, including several large petrochemical, polymer, and chemical industrial plants, as well as coalfired utilities on both sides of the border. 2 In recent years, residents began to wonder about why they were starting to require two softball teams to accommodate the girls on reserve, and they could barelyfieldoneteamofboys. 3 Soon,theyhaddocumentedamarkeddecreaseinthenumber of males born into their community. An investigation was launched to explain this phenomenon, and the Aamjiwnaang First Nation now has the unwelcome distinction of the world slowestdocumentedbirthratio. 4 Thestudysuggeststhatthenoteddeclineinsexratiocouldbecorrelatedwiththecommunity members exposuretoindustrialpollutants. 5 Otherstudiesconductedinthisregionhavefound changesinthesexratiosandreproductiveabilityoffish,bird,andturtlepopulations,whichare thought to be due to exposures to endocrinedisrupting chemicals. Endocrine disruptors are saidtohavea hormonemimicking effect.theymayinducelongtermeffectsuponlowdose exposuresinsusceptibledevelopmentalphases.thereareanumberofcompetinghypotheses forhow,specifically,theseenvironmentalcontaminantsdisruptthehumanendocrinesystem, and how they might be influencing sex ratio.according to the hypothesis with the most traction,interferencewithamother shormonalmilieuatkeydevelopmentalstagesveryearly inapregnancycaninducesexspecificmortalityinmiscarriage.essentially,thehypothesisis thatembryosthatwouldbecomeboybabiesaredisproportionatelylostinearlymiscarriages, usuallyoccurringbeforetheprospectivemotherevenbecomesawarethatshemayhavebeen pregnant. Advocatesrailingagainstchronicpollutionandcontaminationareincreasinglyidentifyingwith andbeinginspiredbytheenvironmentaljusticemovement.theseactivistssee connections 2 Elaine MacDonald and Sarah Rang, Exposing Canada s Chemical Valley: An Investigation of Cumulative Air Pollution Emissions in the Sarnia, Ontario Area (Toronto: Ecojustice, 2007) at 5, online: [MacDonald,ExposingCanada schemicalvalley]. 3 PersonalcommunicationwithAdaLockridge,HealthandEnvironmentCommitteeChair,AamjwnaangFirstNation (26March2008). 4 MaryAnnCohlihan, ChemicalValley:AamjiwnaangFirstNationinSarniaSoundsAlarmOverToxins CBCNewsIn Depth(1April2008),online:<http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/aboriginals/health.html>. 5 ConstanceA.MacKenzie,AdaLockridgeandMargaretKeith,"DecliningSexRatioinaFirstNationCommunity" (2005)113EnvtlHealthPerspectives1295.
6 between social welfare and the environment, pollution and the home, and pollution and discrimination, that have gone unnoticed (or conveniently ignored) by mainstream environmentalists. 6 Acentralfocusisthenotionof disproportionateburdens theclaim thatwhilepollutioniseverywhere,itismosteasilyfoundinafewchoiceplaces,particularly thoseinhabitedbythepoor,theracialized,andthemarginalized. 7 Thefocusoforganizingison thefundamentalpowerdifferentialthatexistsbetweenthepollutersandthepolluted.asa result, many activists in the environmental justice movement want to be able to say unequivocally that the genderbending of endocrine disruption is a new, dramatic and horrifyingharm. The central claim of the environmental justice movement that some of us live more downstreamthanothersisastarkandobvioustruthinsarnia schemicalvalley.talfourd Creekgathersitswatersinanindustrialcorridorhometo40%ofCanada schemicalproduction before it meanders through the Aamjiwnaang reserve and empties into the St. Clair River. Thereare62largeemittingindustrialfacilitieswithin25kilometersofthereserve. 8 In2005 there were 5.7 million kilograms of toxic air pollutants released from the facilities on the Canadiansideoftheborderalone.TheAamjiwnaangFirstNation,confinedtoasmallportion of their traditional territory by colonialist law, has been steadily surrounded by industry and many residents now feel that it is being slowly choked out by the legacy of a century of petrochemicalproduction. 9 Contaminationoftheirbodiesandtheirtraditionalterritoryhashadanenormousemotional effectonthecommunity.whiletheskewedsexratiomaybeapotentsymbolofthecomplexity of contemporary pollution harms, it is by no means theonly manifestation of the pervasive, diffuse,andbodyalteringpollutionthattheresidentsreport.theyexperienceelevatedrates of cancer and diabetes, developmental and attentiondeficit disorders, asthma and other respiratoryailments.therecentyearshavewitnessedabuildingangerasresidentslearnofthe extent of their health problems and the mounting evidence linking those problems to the actionsoftheirindustrialneighbors. 10 Theyareadeeplyinjuredcommunity. 6 RobertR.M.Verchick, InaGreenerVoice:FeministTheoryandEnvironmentalJustice (1996)19Harv.Womens s L.J.23at46. 7 Timothy W. Luke, Rethinking Technoscience in Risk Society: Toxicity as Textuality in Richard Hofritcher, ed., Reclaiming the Environmental Debate: The Politics of Health in a Toxic Culture(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000)239[Luke,RethinkingTechnoscienceinRiskSociety]. 8 MacDonald,ExposingCanada schemicalvalley,supranote2at5. 9 DaynaNadineScott,. ConfrontingChronicPollution:ASocioLegalAnalysisofRiskandPrecaution (2008)46(2) OsgoodeHallL.J.293at298.[Scott,ConfrontingChronicPollution]. 10 Community member comments (presented at the Aaamjiwnaang Environmental Health Symposium, Sarnia, Ontario,March27,2008)[notesonfilewithauthor].
7 2010] BODY POLLUTED II.PARTII:IDENTIFYINGTHEINJURY Communities struggling with contamination face significant challenges in seeking to achieve environmental justice through tort litigation. 11 These toxic torts are, in fact, notoriously difficulttowin;the injury sufferedbytheaamjiwnaangfirstnationisaclassicexampleofhow contemporarypollutionharmsarecurrentlybeyondthereachofeffectiveresolutionthrough tortlaw. Tofindaninjuryinlawweneedtoidentifyacauseandeffectrelationshipthatculminatesina tangibleharm.notonlyisthecausalitycontestedinthiscase,butatangibleharmiselusive. Thinkingspecificallyoftheissueofthedecliningsexratio,howshouldwecharacterizewhathas been lost in the Aamjiwnaang situation?only chanceschances to welcome sons.no one mother could ever prove that she specifically was harmed; that she specifically should have conceivedaboy.noactualchildhasbeenharmed.butitisdifficulttofathomthatthereisno harmbeingdone.itisclearthatthereiswoundingtobeaccountedfor. Cultural anthropologist Lochlann Jain employs the term wound to capture the sense that harmsexistoutthereintheworldthatarenotcontainedinthelegalnotionof injury. 12 And, assheremindsus, wellnessandwoundingwillalwaysbeatplaywithinvariouscrosscutting hierarchies preexisting in our society 13 [W]ounding itself, Jain states, brings a mode of attention to objects into being objects only emerge as separate from the [agent] when somethinggoeswrong. 14 Itisasifthechronicchemicalpollutioninthestreams,rivers,air, and soil of the Aamjiwnaang reserve is suddenly rendered visible by the duly documented epidemiologicalstudyoftheplummetingsexratio. How should we understand the harm or the injury that the Aamjiwnaang community has suffered,andcontinuestosuffer?or,asacolleague(halfjokingly)putittome, What sthe harminafewlessmen? Whydoesthissexratiodynamic,adecliningproportionofboysborn into a community, present a challenge to tort law?in this part, I employ Jain s critique of injury inlawtounpacktheissueofharmpresentedbythisparticularenvironmentalhealth problem. Jain observes that tort law s prerequisite is that the (injured) physical body come to the tableasaprecedingartefactbeingreclaimedafterhavingbeenunjustlyaltered. 15 Itisoffered up as collateral for the justness of a legal logic through which certain practices, like the 11 Melissa ToffolonWeiss & J Timmons Roberts, Toxic Torts, Public Interest Law and Environmental Justice: EvidencefromLouisiana (2004)26(2)Law&Pol y SarahLochlannJain,Injury:ThePoliticsofProductDesignandSafetyLawintheUnitedStates(Princeton,New Jersey:PrincetonUniversityPress,2006)at6[Jain,ThePoliticsofProductDesign]. 13 Ibid.at5. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid.at6.
8 dischargeofendocrinedisruptingchemicalsintotheenvironment,intheory,becomemorally reprehensibleorunacceptable.but,ontopoftheinabilityoftheaamjiwnaangcommunityto produceasingleordistinctinjuredbody, unjustlyaltered,thechroniclowdoseexposuresto pollutionthataresuspectedtoberesponsibleforthe injury are(forthemostpart,atleast) legallysanctioned,andpermitted.theactionsofthecorporatepolluters,insteadofbeingseen asmorallyreprehensible,areinfactstatesanctionedactsofproductiveeconomicactivity. Inthisrespect,lawappearsambivalenttotheendocrinedisruptingpollution.Thebasisupon which the prevailing regulatory approach rests is that pollution is permitted according to certainspecifiedlimitsorstandardssetdowninaregulation,andintherarecasewherethis legallysanctionedpollutionresultsinprovenharm,thestatereliesontortlawtostepinand providecompensation. 16 Civilremedies,betweenindividuals,werelongagodismissedasbeing ineffectiveaslegaltoolsforthegeneralsystemiccontrolofpollution(althoughtheycontinueto berelieduponto pickuptheslack whenthingsgowrong).aregulatoryapproachwasjudged tobemoreeffective. The regime is typically administered by technical agencies staffed with scientific and engineering experts focused on determining the safe levels of various pollutants in the environment.thejobisoneofidentifyingpollutionsources,bringingthemunderpermit,and then controlling the quality and quantity of emissions discharged through the terms and conditions of the permit. The underlying assumption is that the natural environment can be used to assimilate (dilute and cleanse) the waste generated through human activity.this remains the basis for the contemporary regulatory regime: typically, the governing statute containsageneraldischargeprohibitiononcontaminantsincombinationwiththeissuanceof permits for emissions in accordance with a certificate of approval issued by the relevant authority. 17 Thecertificateofapprovalisalegallybindinglicensethatsetsouttheconditions under which a facility can operate, including, often, the maximum permissible contaminant emissionlevels. The ambivalence of our law, then, derives from the continued prominence of the understanding of environmental health harms as incidental, and not central, to industrial production. Any harm caused by legally sanctioned, permitted pollution (as most of it is in Sarnia s chemical corridor) is treated as a byproduct or an accidental side effect of the economicactivity.itremains unintentional.andyet,pollutionisa fixedfeature ofmodern economies. 18 AsRichardLazarushasnoted, pollutioninourregulatoryenvironmentfindsthe pathwayofleastresistance.itfindsthoseplaceswherethelawsareleastenforcedandleast 16 The regulation in effect in Sarnia is Air Pollution Local Air Quality O. Reg. 419/05 under the Ontario EnvironmentalProtectionAct,R.S.O.1990,c.E.19[OEPA]. 17 InOntario,itistheOEPA,ss.6(1),9(1). 18 Luke,RethinkingTechnoscienceinRiskSociety,supranote7at248.
9 2010] BODY POLLUTED understood. 19 The production of chemicals, the refining of oil, and the generation of electricity in the Sarnia corridor has harm and wounding embedded in it. It is equally the productionofpollution. A. WOUNDING Woundsadheredifferentlytodifferentpeople. 20 Andtheactofwounding,asJainshows, focuses attention on things which were previously not clearly in view.but the fact that the chroniccontaminationoftheaamjiwnaangterritorywasonlyrenderedvisiblebythesudden notoriety of having the world s lowest birth ratio, is also largely due to the nature of toxic chemical pollution.it is invisible. The risks associated with it are virtually undetectable without scientific investigation. They manifest as harms caused by molecules. 21 To understandthemechanicsofendocrinedisruption,forexample,thewaythatcertainchemicals mimic hormones in the body by binding with available receptors and influencing gene expression, we are forced to rely on biomedical ways of knowing. The consequences of exposuretendtoeventuallymanifestthemselvesinwaysthatstartfromwithinthebodyand work their way out. 22 Further, the latency period associated with many contemporary environmental health risks underscores their psychological impact in that it renders the experience of risk unbounded: an all clear is never sounded. 23 Bodies contain chemicals banned years before the individual s birth; contamination can beextremely longlasting, and canbepasseddownfromgenerationtogeneration.forexample,inpartbecauseitiswidely accepted among epidemiologists that exposures to toxic chemicals in one generation may produceeffectsinthenext,noonecantelltheaamjiwnaangcommunitywhethertheyfacea present danger, or are experiencing the latent manifestation of exposures long past: as one Band member states, was it me, was it my dad, my mom?...we don t know who s been exposed. 24 B.THEGENDERINGEFFECTOFENDOCRINEDISRUPTION The mechanics of endocrine disruption are often described in the following way. Certain syntheticchemicalssharestructuralfeatureswithcommonsexhormones;thesechemicals,or xenoestrogens,mimichormoneactioninthebodybybindingwith,andactivating,available 19 RichardJ.Lazarus, FairnessinEnvironmentalLaw (1997).27Envtl.L.705at Jain,ThePoliticsofProductDesign,supranote12at Carl F. Cranor, Toxic Torts: Science, Law and the Possibility of Justice (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006)at KaiErikson, ANewSpeciesofTrouble instevenr.couch&j.stevenkrollsmith,eds,communitiesatrisk: CollectiveResponsestoTechnologicalHazards,(NewYork:PeterLang,1991)11at Ibid. 24 RonPlain,"TheCostsofChronicPollution:StoriesfromtheAamjiwnaangFirstNation"(Lecturedeliveredatthe "ExposingCanada'sToxicShame"event,FacultyofEnvironmentalStudies,YorkUniversity,12March2008)[notes onfilewithauthor].
10 hormonereceptors. 25 Theendocrinesystemsofthebodyareunderstoodasresponsiblefor regulating complex and interconnected physiological processes, and thus synthetic chemicals thatinterferewiththesesystemsarethought tohaveprofoundand widerangingeffectson health. 26 Ashormonestravelinthebloodinverysmallconcentrations,evenverylowlevelsof xenoestrogenscandisrupttheflowofinternalcommunications,triggeringbiologicalresponses and functions in the processes of growth and embryonic development. Accordingly, susceptibility to xenoestrogens is thought to depend highly on sex and on the timing of exposures. We rarely hear about the phenomenon of endocrine disruption without reference to the controversial theory of feminization. 27 This posits that we are experiencing, not just in humans but also in animal species throughout the industrialized world, a feminization trend that is observable across a variety of markers including decreased sperm counts, increasing testicularcancers,declininglevelsoftestosterone,andhighincidenceofundescendedtestes. 28 These things theoretically have a common etiology, according to Dr. Devra Davis. 29 It is hypothesized that a declining sex ratio may be just one of a number of manifestations of a feminizationtrendthatistiedtoendocrinedisruptionasverybroadlyexperiencedacrossthe industrializedworld. Thegenderdimensionofthe harm experiencedbytheaamjiwnaangcommunityisasdifficult todemonstrateasitistodismiss.theimpactofpollutionseemsnotonlytobegendered,but gendering. By this I mean that the endocrine disruptors do not just dole out their environmental health horrors disproportionately as between men and women, or girls and boys,theyactuallyseemtobedrivingwhetherwegetgirlsorboys.thepollutionisfearedto beactively producing gender. 25 Theterm hormonemimics wasmadepopularthroughtheveryinfluential1997bookourstolenfuture,which is said to have done for endocrine disruption what Rachel Carson s Silent Spring did for pesticides, in terms of inspiring an environmental movement. Theo Colborne, Dianne Dumanoski & John Peterson Myers, Our Stolen Future:AreweThreateningourFertility,IntelligenceandSurvival?(NewYork:Plume,1997). 26 Foradescriptionofthemechanicsofendocrinedisruptionfromtheperspectiveofcontemporaryscience,see Solomon,G.M.andSchettler,T.(2000).Environmentandhealth:Endocrinedisruptionandpotentialhumanhealth implications. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 163 (11), For a compelling account of how hormonesemergedoutofthehistoricallyandsociallyspecificconditionsofendocrineresearchenvironmentsin the early 20 th century, see Nelly Oudshoorn, Beyond the Natural Body: An Archeology of Sex Hormones (Routledge,1994).IamgratefultoMarianaValverdeforputtingmeontothecriticalworkofNellyOudshorrn. 27 MartinMittlesteadt HumanityatRisk:AretheMalesGoingFirst TheGlobe&Mail(20September2008)Focus, F4. 28 Nancy Langston also attributes rising rates of intersexuality to endocrine disruption. The Retreat From Precaution: Regulating Diethylstilbestrol (DES), Endocrine Disruptors, and Environmental Health (2008) 13:1 EnvironmentalHistory DavisisquotedinMittlesteadt2008.
11 2010] BODY POLLUTED TheAamjiwnaangexperienceismarkedbytheindividualtraumaofrepeatedmiscarriageand thecollectivelossofaviablefuture.theskewedsexratio,conceptualizedasa harm,isone thatisbothvisitedspecificallyonwomen,andfeltbythecommunityasawhole.asjoanne Conaghan has argued and the previous part has made clear, harm is an unstable, slippery concept,highlydependentoncontextandverymuchthesubjectofinterpretation. 30 Butat thesametime,asrobinwesthasargued,thequestionofwhatconstitutesa harm iscentral tolegaltheory. 31 Further,thequestionisacriticaloneforfeminists:asMarthaChamallasand LindaKerberhaveshown,tortlawtraditionallyfalterswhenitisfacedwithclaimsbasedon harmsforwhichthereisno precisemasculineanalog. 32 AccordingtoRobinWest s connectionthesis, women smaterialconnectiontofuturehuman life necessarily produces a gendered notion of harm. 33 The prospect of pregnancy, of contributing to a future generation, marks the key difference between women and men. Underlyingallbranchesoffeministtheory,Westsays,isthenotionthat women sexistential state is grounded in women s unique potential for physical, material connection to human life. 34 Thisistheoneplacewhereevenfeminism sdivisionsdissolve:weallcometogether, shesays,onthe discoveryorrediscoveryoftheimportanceofwomen sfundamentalmaterial differencefrommen. 35 Womenareactuallyorpotentiallymateriallyconnectedtootherhumanlife.Menaren t. This material fact has existential consequences...[it] defines women s subjective, phenomenological and existential state, just as surely as the inevitability of material separationfromtheotherdefinesmen sexistentialstate. 36 Somewhatpredictably,then,Aamjiwnaangmothersandpotentialmothers,eveniftheyarenot uniquely harmed,areusuallyidentifiedasthemediumthroughwhichthepoisoningoccurs: they are seen as sites of contamination. The notion of the mothers as mediums for the pollutionisreinforcedbyvariousstrategiesofresistancethathavebeenemployedbyresidents of the Aamjiwnaang community themselves, including body burden testing and body mapping exercises, and even selfhelp strategies such asleaving thereserve when trying to 30 JoanneConaghan, Law,HarmandRedress:AFeministPerspective (2002)22(3)L.S.319at320[Conaghan,Law, HarmandRedress].. 31 RobinWest,CaringforJustice(NewYork:NewYorkUniversityPress,1997)at MarthaChamallas&LindaK.Kerber, Women,MothersandtheLawofFright:AHistory (1990)88:4Mich.L. Rev.814at RobinWest, JurisprudenceandGender (1988)55U.ChicagoL.Rev.1at14[West,JurisprudenceandGender]. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid.
12 become or once becoming pregnant. 37 This is true even as the epidemiological evidence remains contested as to the significance of the maternal influence.in fact, the scientific literaturethatlinksendocrinedisruptorswithskewedsexratiosfocusesonmaleandfemale reproduction,withresearchersoftenunwillingtomakeacallatthispointastowhichisthe morelikelymodeofaction. Sexistypicallyunderstoodas astableandpreculturalbiologicalrealitythatmaybeassessed and verified through a visual assessment 38 while gender is often understood to be socially constructed a product of our socialization. But it is not just gender that is constructed, of course,itissexaswell.inthepresentexample,focusingourgazeonthedecliningsexratio andthemechanicsofendocrinedisruptionbringsthebodyintofocusandexposestheactive constructionandcategorizationofbodiesintodiscretesexes. Conventionalwisdomholdsthatsexualidentityoccurs naturally asabinarycategory,which consistsoftwo opposite sexes:maleandfemale. 39 Thatthereareonlytwomutuallyexclusive categories is not questioned in the environmental health movement.but as the growing literatureonintersexualitymakesclear, manybodies,evenin nature,simplydonotfitvery wellintotherigidboundariesofamale/femaleclassification. 40 Conservativeestimatesputthe incidenceofintersexualityataround1in2000births,withasmanyas1in100ofusbornwith bodies differing fromthestandardtraitsofmaleorfemale.wherewedrawthelinebetween male and female isnowrecognizedasarbitrary,andsexisbetterunderstoodasoccupying acontinuum. 41 But, many will protest, surely genetics settles the matter conclusively: it is the presence or absenceoftheychromosomethatcreatesabinary.studentsofintroductorybiologycourses mayrecallastandardnarrativesomethingalongtheselines:aperson ssexispredeterminedin thespermgamete.thecellsoftheegggameteallpossessthexxsexchromosomes.aroundhalf of the sperm gametes contain the X chromosome and others possess the Y chromosome.in light of this, there are two possibilities that can occur during fertilisation between male and female gametes, XX and XY.Since sperm are the variable factor, they are responsible for determiningsex 37 These strategies were shared with me by members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation at the Aamjiwnaang EnvironmentalHealthSymposium,Sarnia(26March2008)[notesonfilewithauthor]. 38 AnneBloom,Sex,Bodies,Torts(2009)[unpublishedmanuscript,onfilewithauthor]at9[Bloom,Sex,Bodies, Torts]. 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid.at3. 41 JenniferL.Nye, TheGenderBox (1998)13BerkeleyWomen sl.j.226at229. SeealsoCarissimaMathen, TransgenderedPersonsandFeministStrategy (2004)16C.J.W.L.291at307.
13 2010] BODY POLLUTED Inlife,itturnsout,itismorecomplicated.Insomecases,babiesarebornwithanextraXoran extray,andsomebabiesarebornwithonlyonex. 42 Inmanymorecases,babiesarebornwith, orindividualsdeveloplaterintheirlife,physicaltraitsthatdonotcomportwiththecategory designatedtothem.forexample,somexxindividualshavebothovariesandthereproductive equipmentwemighttypicallyassociatewithamale.andinmanymorecasesstill,individuals exhibit personality traits, or gender identities, that puts them on a collision course with prevailingculturalexpectationsaboutthecharacteristicsthataretypicallyassociatedwiththe twocategoriesofsexidentity.ifthisallseemsnew,itisbecause,asannebloomdemonstrates beautifully, several authoritative discourses and institutions (law and medicine chief among them)have collaborated soas tomakebinarysexualdifferenceappearmore natural than itis. 43 Hormones,ofcourse,areimplicatedaswell.Accordingtothestandardline,sexisdetermined bygeneticfactors,andsexualdifferentiationisdrivenbyhormones.asnellyoudshoorn swork exposes, the discovery of hormones early in the twentieth century became celebrated as providingthe missinglink betweengeneticandphysiologicalmodelsofsexdetermination. 44 It quickly became accepted that the intentions of genes must always be carried through by appropriate hormones. 45 Accordingly, hormones assumed the role of the chemical messengers ofmasculinityandfemininity. 46 If there is no natural categorization of sexual identity as a binary, perhaps there is no normal balancebetweentwodiscretesexes. 47 Withoutthesecriticalassumptionsinplace,it is difficult to characterize the declining sex ratio of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, even at a collectivelevel,asaharm.ifnotthroughrecoursetowhatis natural,onwhatbasiscanwe determinethatendocrinedisruption,orpollution,ever,isharmful?canwesaythatuninvited changestobodiesareunwelcome?thatjustas risks,howeverrationaltoincuratasocietal level,areunacceptableiftheyareimposedinvoluntarilyoriftheyresultintheunfairsharingof benefits and burdens, 48 so the uninvited interference with bodies, with reproduction, in this case,isunacceptable? 42 Bloom,Sex,Bodies,Torts,supranote37at 43 Ibid.at3. 44 NellyOudshoorn,BeyondtheNaturalBody:AnArcheologyofSexHormones(London:Routledge,1994). 45 Ibid.at As Oudshoorn demonstrates, since the earliest writing on endocrinology in the early 20 th century, scientists labelledthehormonesas female or male.todayscientistsrecognizethathormonesdonot belong toonesex ortheother,andyetthelabelspersistbecausetheyserveasaformofculturalshorthand.ourunderstandingsof endocrinedisruption,predictably,invokethesebinarycategoriesinpopularrepresentations. 47 AsAnneBottomleyhasnoted,theseassumptionshavebeenfundamental: knowledgeofourselvesandofour world,hasbeenpredicateduponbinaryconstructsof male/female AnneBottomley, TheManyAppearances ofthebodyinfeministscholarship inandrewbainham,shelleydaysclater&martinrichards,eds.,bodylore andlaws(oxford:hartpublishing,2002)127at127[bottomley,thebodyinfeministscholarship]. 48 Scott,ConfrontingChronicPollution,supranote9at300.
14 Oneansweristhatwevalidatetheharmsofthepollutionthataretiedtoillnessandsuffering andnotthosethatsignifydifference.thoseharmedbythepollutionarethepeoplelivingin Aamjiwnaang they are the women, men and children, mostly girls, but nevertheless the childrenoftheband.theyarethe youngaboriginalmothers,theyareparentswhoroutinely receive emergency alerts over the radio indicating thatthey should Shelter in Place as a resultofanincidentora fugitiverelease fromneighboringindustry,theyaredaycareworkers respondingtothesirensbyshufflingtoddlersinsideandclosingthevents,theyarehealthclinic staff staring down bewildering statistics, they are teenagers struggling with asthma, developmental and attentiondeficit disorders, and they are young children prevented from swimminginthecontaminatedcreekthatpassesthroughtheirtraditionalpowwowgrounds. 49 Thesearethepeoplelivingwiththeeffectsofthechronicexposurestopollutionthatemanate from Sarnia s Chemical Valley.The community has more than its fair share of illness and suffering: 17% of adults and 22% of children surveyed have asthma; about 25% of adults experiencehighbloodpressureand/orchronicheadaches;about25%ofchildrensufferfrom learning disabilities and behavioural problems; and about 40% of women have experienced miscarriageorstillbirth. 50 Anotheransweristhatweadoptan embodied approachthatvalidatestherealandmaterial consequencesthatthepollutionishavingwithinbodies.insteadofinsistingonsome unified andsingularbodilyformofthemaleandthefemale thisapproachwouldplaceattentionon theuniversalhumanconditionofbeing in ourbodies. 51 Humanembodimentspansallsorts ofbiologicalimperatives:fromhungerandexcretiontoaginganddying.italsoincludeschange through various life stages driven by hormonal cycles. These cycles create windows of vulnerability that have a distinct biological and thus gendered nature. 52 It is here that estrogenstakeonapivotalrole,andtheroleofxenoestrogens,inparticular,becomessalient. Whensyntheticchemicals,uninvited,takeoverforhormones,bindingwithavailablereceptors and orchestrating physiological processes, it has real, tangible, material consequences for bodies.whenthishappensinthecontextofreproduction,ithasgenderingconsequences. Here, in the context of endocrine disruption on an aboriginal reserve surrounded by petrochemical production, these answers are attractive because they seem to offer the potentialtounderscoretheblameworthinessoftheongoingpollution.butitisclear:theharm to the community s sex ratio is a harm in the abstract.why should the declining sex ratio garnersomuchattentionwhentheactualsufferingandpoorhealthoflivingbeingswomen, 49 Ibid.at These data were presented by Sharilyn Johnston & Ron Plain at the Aamjiwnaang Environmental Health Symposium(notesonfilewithauthor). 51 Mellor,Mary,Feminism&Ecology(NewYork:NYUPress,1997)at9. 52 StaciJeanneKrupp, EnvironmentalHazards:AssessingtheRisktoWomen ( )12FordhamEnvtl.L.J. 111.
15 2010] BODY POLLUTED menandchildrenattractsonlyindifferenceanddismissal?thisbringsusbacktotheglaring unfairnessofthepollution sdisproportionateimpactonthenativecommunityinthecontextof their colonial history.in fact, understanding why the effects of chronic pollution might be manifest first on the Aamjiwnaang reserve and not in white Sarnia goes a long way to re centering the role of land, capital, race and colonization.the Aanishinaabek people have occupied their lands at the southernmost tip of Lake Huron for hundreds of years. As band memberronplainwilltellyou,ontheaamjiwnaangburialgrounds,youwillfindtheremainsof fourgenerationsofhisancestors,allinoneplace,literallyonthefencelineofalargerefinery: we all lived here all our lives. 53 The permanence of both the pollution and of the AamjiwnaangFirstNationonthelandscape,offersapossibleexplanationforwhywemightsee a disproportionate effect of chronic pollution on this community: they are grounded both spatiallyandhistorically.ifthemechanismbehindthedeclineinsexratiohasagenerational component,itmakessensethatitwouldemergeinthefirstnationcommunityfirst.insouth Sarnia,forexample,whichmightexperiencecomparableexposurestoairbornepollutants,you are likely to find people who were born all over the country, if not the world. On the Aamjiwnaangreserve,youwillnot.Itisastarkreminderofhowcontemporarypollutionexists insocialcontextsthatcanexacerbateitseffects. C.COLLECTIVEHARM The impact of the pollution on the Aamjiwnaang people is imposed not only on individual bodies,ofcourse,butonthecommunityasawhole.infact,itisthroughtheworkoffeminist legalscholarstowardsexposingthenatureof genderedharm thatwehavecometoclearly understandthat injuryhasasocialaswellasanindividualdimension. 54 AsJoanneConaghan states, a person s membership in a particular class, group, race or gender can significantly shapethenatureanddegreeofharmtheysustain. 55 ItisinthisveinthatIturnnexttothe notionofa collectiveharm inthehopesthatitcanbettercapturethewoundsflowingfrom the sex ratio skewing on the Aamjiwnaang reserve.as one band member has stated: our daughters will have to go outside our community for their partners. 56 The concern is essentially one about cultural survival.it is the collective loss of a viable future.thus the notionofacollectiveharmhighlightsthefactthatthisproblemissituatedinthecontextofan aboriginalcommunityalreadystruggling,asmanyare,withstemmingthelossofcultureand traditionamongsttheirpeople. 53 RonPlain,supranote JoanneConaghan, GenderedHarmsandtheLawofTort:Remedying(Sexual)Harassment (1996)16:3OxfordJ. oflegalstud407at408[conaghan,genderedharms].seealsoadrianhowe, TheProblemofPrivatizedInjuries: FeministStrategiesforLitigation inmarthaalbertson&nancysweetthomadseneds.,attheboundariesoflaw: FeminismandLegalTheory(NewYork:Routledge,1991).SeealsoConaghan,Law,HarmandRedress,supranote 29.SeealsoJoanneConaghanandW.Mansell,TheWrongsofTort(London:PlutoPress,1993)[Conaghanand Mansell,TheWrongsofTort].SeealsoLeslieBender, Feminist(Re)torts:ThoughtsontheLiabilityCrisis,Mass Torts,PowerandResponsibilities (1990)37DukeL.J Conaghan,GenderedHarms,supranote54at RonPlain,supranote24.
16 Injury,asDavidEngelsargues, opensawindowontoidentity. 57 Thisisbecause [w]henwe saythatanindividualhassufferedaninjury,weimplicitlyrefertoaselfthatisconstitutedina particular way and is therefore vulnerable to particular kinds of harm. 58 It is the specific historyoftheaamjiwnaangfirstnationwhichmakesthecommunity,asawhole,particularly vulnerabletopollutionharm.asrobertverchickmakesclear, localizedenvironmentalhazardsdonotsimplyharmindividuals,theyerodefamilyties andcommunityrelationships [they]createcommunitywidestressthatwilldebilitate the neighborhood in emotional, sociological, and economic ways. To ignore this communalharmistounderestimateseverelythetrueriskinvolved. 59 Further,followingVerchick,becauseemergingenvironmentalhealthharmsareoftenlocalized andconcentrated,andbecausetheytendtobedistributedalongraceandclassdifferentials, thewoundtotheaffectedcommunity,inthiscasetheaamjiwnaangfirstnation,takesona profoundmoralcharacter DavidEngels, InjuryandIdentity:TheDamagedSelfinThreeCultures inlisac.bower,davidtheogoldberg& MichaelMushenoeds.,BetweenLawandCulture:RelocatingLegalStudies,(Minnesota:UniversityofMinnesota Press,2000)at3. 58 Ibid. 59 RobertVerchick, InaGreenerVoice:FeministTheoryandEnvironmentalJustice (1996)19HarvWomen sl.j. 23at Ibid.JustasNativeAmericanshavecharacterizedtheU.S.military spoisoningofindianlandasgenocide,sothe chargeofculturalexterminationhasbeenlevelledbyresidentsinthecaseofaamjiwnaangwithrespecttothe slowpoisoningoftheirpeopleandtheirtraditionalterritory.inthisway,thetheoryofendocrinedisruptioninthe contextofafirstnationencountersahistorythathasrefused,atvarioustimes,racializedgroupsthecapacityfor children.is forced sterilization the racist form of mass birth control described by Angela Davis as it has appliedhistoricallytopoorblackwomenintheamericancontextanydifferentfromwhatishappeningtodayon theaamjiwnaangreserve?classbiasandracism,asdavisnotes,hasalwayscontributedtohowwe,collectively, figureoutwhomaylegitimatelycontributetothenextgeneration,tothe future.angeladavis, Racism,Birth ControlandReproductiveRights innancyehrenreich,ed.,thereproductiverightsreader:law,medicine,and theconstructionofmotherhood(newyork:nyupress,2008).similarly,dorothyrobertshasexposedhowthe materialconditionsofpovertyandoppressionhavelimitedthereproductiveoptionsandchoicesforpoorwomen ofcolourwhohavebeen deemednotevenworthyofthedignityofchildbearing.dorothye.roberts, Punishing DrugAddictsWhoHaveBabies:WomenofColour,EqualityandtheRightofPrivacy (1991)104HarvL.Rev.1419 at1458.aparallelcouldbedrawnbetweenhistoricalpracticesofeugenicsinwhichoutsidersdecidedonbehalf ofwomen,andtheircommunities,whoseliveswouldbeworthlivingandwhosechildrenwouldbewelcomeinthis world(ruthhubbard, AbortionandDisability inlennardj.davis,ed.,thedisabilitystudiesreader(newyork: Routlegde, 1997) and the current political economy ofpollution in Canada.Perhaps our attitudes towards the evidenceofendocrine disruption and its role in the ability of the Aamjiwnaang FirstNationto replace itself is basedona clusterofunexaminedandunspokenpreconceptionsaboutwhoshouldandwhoshouldnotinhabit theworld ShelleyTremain, TheoreticalPerspectivesontheConstructionoftheGenderedBodyandDisability in P.VanEsterik,ed.,Head,HeartandHand:Partnershipsforwomen'shealthinCanadianEnvironment(Toronto:
17 2010] BODY POLLUTED Asprofoundawoundasitis,itisclearthatlocatingan injury inindividualsisnoteasy.even locating a harm at the collective level is fraught with difficulty:conceptualizing the wound suffered by the Aamjiwnaang (at least in terms of the declining sex ratio) as a harm in fact demandsallegiancetonotionsofwhatis natural andwhatis normal thatflyinthefaceof developments in sex and gender theory.contemporarypollution harms are diffuse, body altering, cumulative, and probably generational in character. There is wounding to be accountedfor,butitisthekindofharmthatpushesthelimitsofourcurrentlegalimaginary. III.PARTIII:IMAGININGAREMEDY Atortisalegalconstruct:itonlyexistsincaseswherethereisa wrong forwhichthelaw providesaremedy. 61 Ingeneral,tortlawprovidesthatcompensation,usuallyintheformof moneydamages,bepaidforaninjurysufferedasaresultofthewrongfulconductofothers. CantortlawprovidearemedyfortheinjurysufferedbytheAamjiwnaangFirstNation?Inthe firstpartofwhatfollows,iofferacritiqueoftortdamagesasbasedontheideaofaliberal, individuallegalsubjectgroundedinfeministtheoryofthebody.inthesecondpart,iengagein asomewhatcreative,orperhapsplayful,takeontortsinwhichiconsidervarioustortsona conceptual level, and what they might offer the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in the way of remedies.ineachcase,whatthetortcandodependsonhowtheinjury,andthescaleatwhich theentitytakentohavesufferedtheinjury,isconceived. A.BEYONDINDIVIDUALLEGALSUBJECTS The central difficulty for tort law in providing an effective remedy to the Aamjiwnaang communityderivesfromitsunderlyingassumptionthat societyiscomposedoffree,separate, autonomousindividuals,competingwitheachotherinpursuitoftheirownselfinterest. 62 The definitionoftortlawisthatitisthelawgoverningtheobligationsthatpersonsaredeemedto owe each other. 63 This is where a feminist critique gains traction.where tort law, as traditionallypresented,presupposestheessentialseparatenessofindividualsfromeachother, feministperspectivesrecognize,fromtheveryoutset,ournecessaryinterconnectedness. 64 NationalNetworkonEnvironmentsandWomen'sHealth,2002)455at481.Isthelackofpublicoutcrymerelya reverberationofcanada sowngenocidalpast?isitculturalexterminationbyanewmechanism? 61 LewisKlar,TortLaw,4 th Edition(ThomsonCarswell,2008)at1,citingLaForestinAngusv.Hart(1988),52D.L.R. (4 th )193at199(S.C.C.)[Klar,TortLaw]. 62 Conaghan,GenderedHarms,supranote53at Presumably, on an equal basisnever mind that the idea of a relationship of formal equality between the plaintiffandthedefendantisapurefantasy,inmostcases. 64 JoanneConaghan, TortLawandtheFeministCritiqueofReason inannebottomley,ed.,feministperspectives onthefoundationalsubjectsoflaw.(london:routlege,1996)47at47.
18 RobinWest,asnotedinPartII,challengesthenotionof separateness forwomenbasedon her connection thesis: women are not essentially, necessarily, inevitably, invariably, always and forever separate from other human beings. 65 Her thesis is strengthened by emerging work by scholars of fetal microchimerism, such as Aryn Martin, who demonstrates that, not onlyiswomen s separateness challengedbythepossibilityofreproduction,butthematernal bodyis irretrievablytransformedbytheexperienceofpregnancy. 66 Asthesescholarshave demonstrated, the boundaries of human individuality are permanently blurred by the fluid movementandexchangeofcellsthatoccursbetweenamotherandherfetus.childrenofall genderswillforeverharborcellsbelongingtotheirmotherswithintheirownbodies.andsowe can take the challenge to the separation thesis much deeper: not only can women not be conceived of as separate from other life, but men cannot either. All living things are embeddedandinterwovenintolargerwebsofbeing. TheideaofhumansasorganismsembeddedindynamicsystemsinvitesaDeleuzianconception ofthebody,whichdoesnotrelyonanindividuatedsubject. 67 AsElizabethGroszargues,we needtounderstandthebody notasanorganismorentityinitself,butasasystem,oraseries ofopenendedsystems,functioningwithinotherhugesystemsitcannotcontrol 68 Applying this perspective places the Aamjiwnaang people as subjects immersed in a social, ecological, political and historical context that accentuates their vulnerabilities to the pollution to the intensitiesandflowsoperatingatamolecularlevel,totheenergiesandconnectionsbetween synthetic hormones and available receptors within bodies.in emphasizing the capacity of bodies to affect and be affected by other bodies, this conception, therefore, undermines a notionofafixedboundarybetweensubjectandobjectandbetweentheselfanditsother. 69 It representsashiftawayfromthenotionoftheselfasprimarilysubjecttocentralcontrol. 70 As Richardson argues, however, this is not necessarily as conceptually debilitating as one might assume: A distinct self does emerge, but through patterns of relationality rather than in oppositionfromitsother West,JurisprudenceandGender,supranote33at2. 66 Aryn Martin, Your mother s always with you : Material feminism and fetomaternal microchimerism (2009) ResourcesforFeministResearch,forthcomingat8. 67 Bottomley,TheBodyinFeministScholarship,supranote47at140.Instead,aDeleuzianconception,inAnne Bottomley s words calls for a morphing of the body into a site of patterns, flows and intensities in which the emphasisiscontinuallyonmovement. 68 Elizabeth Grosz, The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution and the Untimely (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004)at3. 69 Janice Richardson, Selves, Persons, Individuals. Philosophical Perspectives on Women and Legal Obligations (Aldershot:Ashgate,2004)at27[Richardson,Selves,Persons,Individuals]. 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid.
19 2010] BODY POLLUTED Thechallengetothesegenerallyacceptedboundariesofthepersonraisesobviousquestionsof humanagency. 72 Weareallorganisms assimilating,seeking,manipulating[our]worlds,even as[we]accommodateandrespondtothem. 73 Inotherwords,weareneithercompletelyfree andautonomous,norpassive.theimageofendocrinedisruptionconstructedbyscientistsin fact reinforces the idea that matter is inherently interactive, not inert. The metaphor of hormonesasmessengersmovingthroughthebody,pickingup packages fromthe outside, delivering them to receptive agents, igniting and transforming productive processes reinforcestheunderstandingthatbodiesaredynamicsystems. As Richardson argues, a refusal to delineate fixed boundaries between the self and its supposed outside offersanewapproachtothelawofobligations. 74 Thefocusonindividuals asthepointofdepartureintortlawneedschallenge.butthatthefundamentalentityofsocial existencemustbetheindividualiscentraltoliberalthought: weareindividuals,becausewe areseparatefromoneanother. 75 Andthisisnotjustinaphysicalsense, whatisimportant fortheliberalisthatourindividuationisnormative. 76 We are individuals because we choose. Individualism is the foundation for the sacred liberal valuesofchoice,autonomyandselfdetermination. 77 Oneofthebasicassumptionsintortlawisthatweareenvisagedasindividualswhoare owners of our own abilities, such as our ability to work and our bodies. If anyone negligently injures us or prevent us from being able to earn a living we can claim damages because we own parts of our bodies and life changes in a way that is analogoustothewayinwhichweownproperty. 78 Thedecliningsexratioemergesasaneruptionofunpredictabilityinamaterialworldthatis otherwisetightlystructuredbyforcesexternaltotheband.wherethesubjectsofpollutionare noteasilyconceptualizedasindividual,liberal,monadicentities,butareinsteadunderstoodas a community embedded in cultural histories, tied to the land, and inseparable from local intensities and flows, emitted particles, energies and connections operating on a molecular level,weneedabroaderconceptionofthelegalsubjecttoadequatelyunderstandtheharm. 72 Ibid.at SusanOyama,Evolution'seye:asystemsviewofthebiologyculturedivide(2000)at Richardson,Selves,Persons,Individuals,supranote69at TedDecoste, TakingTortsProgressively inkencooperstevensonandelainegibson,eds.,torttheory(north York:CaptusUniversityPress,1993)240at Ibid. 77 Ibid. 78 Richardson,Selves,PersonsIndividuals,supranote69at77.
20 Whyis theindividualperson theappropriateunitorlevelofanalysisforassessingdamagesin tortlaw?whynotassessitatthelevelofcommunities?orconversely,atthemolecularlevel? Atthelevelofcells?Legalscholarshavebegunexploringtheideathattortlawistoocorporeal thatitistetheredtootightlytoproofofphysicaldamagesandshouldmovetowardsthe recognition of interestsbased damages in certain contexts. 79 But even where recent scholarship in tort has included some calls for expansion of what should count as harm or physicaldamage, 80 thescaleatwhichwelooktofindsuchdamageremainslockedatthelevel oftheindividual,thesingleunitarylegalsubject. Wittingarguesweshouldmoveawayfromassessingphysicaldamageonlyonthebasisofa factuallyobservable changeinthephysicalstructureofpersons,andadvocatesforamore contextualapproachbasedonsocialperceptionsofdamage. 81 AsNolansays, theboundaries oftheconceptofphysicaldamagearenotalwaysclear 82 andcouldbeexpanded.thisgoes somewaytowardsopeningupthequestionofwhatconstitutesphysicaldamage,butleaves unexplored,fornow,thematteroftheappropriatescaleonwhichweshouldmeasureit.in whatfollows,ibegintobrainstormthewaythatvarioustortsmightoperateatdifferentscales ofinjurytoprovidearemedyfortheaamjiwnaangpeople. Ifwetaketheinjurytohaveoccurredinsidebodies,thenperhapswewouldturntothetortof battery B.OFFENSIVECONTACTWITHTHEBODY/BATTERY Istherearighttophysicalintegrityorbodilyinviolability?Controloverourbodiesrepresentsa keyfeministobjective.thenotion thatweareindividualautonomousbodieswouldseemto demandthatweareallableto resisttheintrusionsofothers. 83 Presumablythisincludesthe ability to say yes or no to bodily penetration by synthetic chemicals capable of causing materialchangestokeymetabolicprocesseswithinourselves.sowhatifindividualwomenin 79 Christian Witting, Physical Damage in Negligence (2002) 61(1) Cambridge L.J. 189 at [Witting, Physical Damage].SeealsoChristianWitting, TheHousethatDrBeeverBuilt:CorrectiveJustice,PrincipleandtheLawof Negligence (2008)71(4)Mod.L.Rev.621at[Witting,TheHousethatDrBeeverBuilt]. SeealsoDonalNolan, Newformsofdamageinnegligence (2007)70(1)ModL.Rev.59at[Nolan,Newformsof damageinnegligence]. 80 SeeWitting,PhysicalDamage,supranote79.SeealsoWitting,TheHousethatDrBeeverBuilt,supranote79. SeealsoNolan,Newformsofdamageinnegligence,supranote79.SeealsoNickyPrialux, That soneheckofan UnrulyHorse!RidingRoughshodOverAutonomyinWrongfulConception (2004)12Fem.LegalStud Witting,PhysicalDamageinNegligence,supranote79at Nolan,Newformsofdamageinnegligence,supranote79at Hydeat97.
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