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Raoul S. Lievanos forthcoming publication

"Certainty, Fairness, and Balance: State Resonance and Environmental Justice Policy Implementation," will appear in the June 2012 (Vol. 27, No. 2) issue of Sociological Forum. The publication draws on research Lievanos completed for his qualifying paper in the sociology department and elaborates on recent arguments put forth by Lievanos and co-authors Jonathan K. London and Julie Sze in Technoscience and Environmental Justice: Expert Cultures in a Grassroots Movement, edited by G. Ottinger and B. R. Cohen (MIT Press, 2011).

Little research has examined how and why institutional context and framing dynamics shape the institutionalization of movement claims into the state’s formal policies, and what the implication of these processes might be for movements attempting to mobilize on the same conceptual terms after institutionalization. In this study, I explore the role institutional context and framing play in the institutionalization of movement claims in a case: the implementation of environmental justice policy in the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2002 to 2007. I ask: How and why were aspects of the environmental justice frame institutionalized into regulatory policy while others were not? I use ethnographic field methods and content analysis of archival data to answer this question and offer two contributions to previous research. First, I add to previous scholarship on the environmental justice movement by identifying the character of newer problems faced by movement actors as they engage in regulatory policy processes with opponents in the United States. Second, I extend social movement framing theory by developing the notion of “state resonance” to understand how and why a collective action frame is institutionalized and implemented in regulatory policy.