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Measuring Micrometers of Matter and Inventing Indices: Entangling Social Perception within Discrete and Continuous Measurements of Air Quality

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  • Edwin Schmitt

    (Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, 0315 Oslo, Norway)

Abstract

Environmental protection agencies around the globe are establishing different methods for measuring particulates, and then integrating those measurements into a single air quality index with other pollutants. At the same time, scientific inquiry has also shifted to a theory of measurement that incorporates discrete and continuous measurement. This article reviews the relationship between discrete measurements and indices, while also speculating on the way that the continuous measurement of air pollution could stimulate awareness and action. The paper argues that continuous measurement must include the way people of different backgrounds perceive air pollution in their lives. After reviewing the methods of measuring particulates and their inclusion into various indices, the article argues that in order to take action to mitigate the health impacts of air pollution, we must allow for the social perception of air pollution to become entangled within our scientific measurements.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwin Schmitt, 2019. "Measuring Micrometers of Matter and Inventing Indices: Entangling Social Perception within Discrete and Continuous Measurements of Air Quality," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 8(2), pages 1-18, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:8:y:2019:i:2:p:48-:d:203798
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Branden B. Johnson, 2003. "Communicating Air Quality Information: Experimental Evaluation of Alternative Formats," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 23(1), pages 91-103, February.
    2. Joerges, Bernward & Shinn, Terry, 2000. "Research technology: Instrumentation between science, state and industry," Discussion Papers, Research Group Metropolitan City Studies FS II 00-503, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    3. Jones, A. P., 1998. "Asthma and domestic air quality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 755-764, September.
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