Bhopal’s Trials of Knowledge and Ignorance

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Contributed date

June 11, 2020 - 3:41pm

Critical Commentary

This scholarly journal article reports on the sociotechnical entanglements related to a disaster experienced in Bhopal, India. This disaster was not directly related to energy resources, but was incited by the failure of energy resources (refrigeration system, energy burn off smokestacks, and ventilation of energy byproducts) to cool, release, and correctly disseminate byproducts related to the creation of this pesticide processing plant. This tragedy was experienced in 1984, when a pesticide processing plant released gas that ended up killing thousands of people immediately and many more later on. This artifact shows the injustices endured across national boundaries from different economic actors. The plant producing this resource was owned by an American company, which responded poorly to the consequences that were endured by the people of Bhopal, India. This is related to procedural justice because it shows how energy utilities are essential to upkeep and maintain to reduce disastrous outcomes, in this case causing many deaths. The practices that caused this disaster also impacted environmental resources, destroying them and causing injustices and destroying human lives. The different actors associated across transnational boundaries show that energy and environmental justice issues have citizenship claims that are essential for representation from government actors to give recognition to populations from different national entities. These entaglements show that justice claims are not limited to a specific geographic and spatial area and that they should be considered globally and beyond.


Jasanoff, S. (2007). Bhopal’s Trials of Knowledge and Ignorance. Isis, 98(2), 344-350. doi:10.1086/518194



Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

Sheila Jasanoff, "Bhopal’s Trials of Knowledge and Ignorance", contributed by James Gall, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 11 June 2020, accessed 13 July 2024.’s-trials-knowledge-and-ignorance