Be the change

While I was off splunking through Central America on the WM Social Entrepreneurship Study Abroad Program, Professor Kaup was hard at work (I assume) doing a feasibility assessment on our project. Using a fairly large sample size of ~150 cases (out of 225+), the initial analysis suggest that some variables of interest have little to no statistical effect on our DV, that is, whether or not a power plant is/was constructed. The only variable that seemed to have an effect was the number of jobs a plant would create, although that relationship was weak. Suffice it to say, we’re in a bit of a pickle, at least in regards to our original method. As such, Professor Kaup and I have decided to approach our project from a different angle.

This new angle originated out of a paper I wrote for Professor Kaup’s class on Energy, Environment and Development. Using the proposed power plant in nearby Surry County as a case study, I analyzed how the materiality of the coal plant and its distribution of “goods” and “bads”, affects the intensity and spatial distribution of resistance to the plant. Apparently, I stumbled onto an interesting, and relatively uncovered subject. Unless google and more academic search engines are holding back on us, nobody has really investigated the interaction between a LULU’s materiality (locally unwanted land use) and how it affects the spatial character of the resulting resistance. With a bit of luck, and some intellectual jujitsu, we are still on track to make a meaningful contribution to the Environmental Justice literature. If all goes well, I could get a gold star.

Having chosen the tangent untraveled, we have applied for Human Subject Testing and I am in the midst of conducting a literature review. Slowly but surely, I’m getting back into my old form, but for now, reading academic articles is a bit of a chore. However, this chore is worth it– and I have even learned some interesting things about spatial analysis. Evidently, there are five major aspects to spatiality: place, scale, networks, positionality and mobility. It is all so exhilarating.

Anyway, I am very pleased and intrigued with our new direction and I look forward to the progression of the project. Up next: case selection and temporal mapping.