Discarded Europe

Money, Trash and the Possibilities of a New Temporality

in Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

How are time and materiality felt in periods of expectation, when change is awaited but never comes, at least not in the way anticipated? Disappointment may set in, but in the expanding European context in which I conducted research, something else occurs: sensory experiences of time and materiality intermingle and shape each other. These experiences of temporal-material relations, in a context of historical disorientation, are the basis of a new European temporality. My ethnographic research on waste management in Bulgaria, conducted between 2010 and 2013, with informal garbage collectors, city street sweepers, waste company officials, Sofia citizens, municipal representatives and ministry employees, provides the empirical foundation for this piece.