Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Christie Parris


Environment, Sociology, Inverted quarantine, Consumption, Individualism, Conscious consumption, Class, Fear, Contaminants, Environmental burdens, Conspicuous Consumption, Environmental body burden, Gender, Parenting, Farming, Organic, Natural, Habitus, Oberlin College


In his 2007 book Shopping Our Way to Safety, sociologist Andrew Szasz coined the term inverted quarantine to describe a phenomenon in the way that Americans react to the changing natural environment. Inverted quarantine, or the impulse to remove one’s self from perceived environmental dangers, often manifests in consumption behavior such as consuming only organic food, drinking filtered or bottled water, moving from a city to a suburb, or even being enclosed in a gated community. Although inverted quarantine may result in some form of protection, in the long run it is unsustainable in the face of the changing natural environment. Through investigations in literature and in-depth interviews with Ohio farmers, Oberlin College students, and parents in Fairfield County, Connecticut, this study examines the different way that environmental dangers are perceived and addressed across three different demographics.

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