, however, that the waste by-product of burning coal, commonly referred to as coal ash, has received any noteworthy attention in the United States. Before the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal ash disaster of 2008, coal ash rarely appeared before the
Erin R. Eldridge
Political and Symbolic Effects Due to Privatisation of Urban Sanitation Services
I would like to submit to you the idea that an anthropological approach to urban wastes and their corresponding techniques provides an understanding of the social mechanisms of articulation between the different spaces which exist in a city, as well as the construction mechanism or legitimisation of social positions. The continuing privatisation of public services, including urban sanitation services, for the pro t of big Western companies, highlights the consequences of globalisation through the imposition of technical systems.
This article presents a long-term study of German waste management policies and technologies as they developed during the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar "waste avalanche" called for quick and crude political decisions. Unexpected environmental side effects prompted new governance and leads through six different stages of policies based on scientific models and advanced technologies—all of them controversial. The case exemplifies a typical condition of a knowledge society. Politics demands a reliable knowledge base for rational decision making. Science, however, supplies open-ended research and increases uncertainties. Turning the dilemma into an operational perspective, I suggest speaking of processes of real-world experimentation with waste. The transformation of waste from something to be ignored and disregarded into an epistemic object of concern is bound to experimenting with existing and newly designed waste sites as well as with socio-technical management systems. The study focuses on the development in Germany. Its general features, however, are characteristic for comparable industrial societies.
New Value for Conservation and Development
Jenny E. Goldstein
An extensive body of research in the natural and social sciences has assessed the social, economic, and ecological causes of tropical forest degradation and forests' subsequent reduction in value. This article, however, takes the afterlives of degraded forests as its point of departure to ask how they are being reconsidered as valuable through conservation and development potential. Through a critical review of recent biophysical and social science literature on tropical forest degradation, this article first assesses the definitional and methodological foundations of tropical forest degradation. It then suggests that recent scholarship on the reincorporation of waste and wasteland into capitalist circuits of production offers one route to consider the value of degraded forests. Finally, this article reviews some of the ways in which these tropical forests are being considered economically and/or ecologically valuable through current conservation and developmental trajectories.
This article aims to empirically test the so called low-cost hypothesis. The hypothesis posits that cost moderates the strength of the relationship between environmental concern and behavior. The effects of the behavioral cost and environmental concern on household waste recycling were evaluated, using empirical data collected from 2,695 respondents in Cologne, Germany. Empirically, a clear effect of both behavioral cost and environmental concern can be identified. Recycling rates are higher when a curbside scheme is implemented or the distance to collection containers is low. In addition, the probability of recycling participation rises when the actor has a pronounced environmental concern. This effect of environmental attitudes does not vary with behavioral cost and opportunities. Therefore, the low-cost hypothesis is not supported by the study.
In this essay I examine the dispute between the German Green
Party and some of the country’s environmental nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) over the March 2001 renewal of rail shipments
of highly radioactive wastes to Gorleben. My purpose in
doing so is to test John Dryzek’s 1996 claim that environmentalists
ought to beware of what they wish for concerning inclusion in the
liberal democratic state. Inclusion on the wrong terms, argues
Dryzek, may prove detrimental to the goals of greening and democratizing
public policy because such inclusion may compromise the
survival of a green public sphere that is vital to both. Prospects for
ecological democracy, understood in terms of strong ecological
modernization here, depend on historically conditioned relationships
between the state and the environmental movement that foster
the emergence and persistence over time of such a public sphere.
E. P. Thompson's time-sense at the edges of Rio de Janeiro
Kathleen M. Millar
This article puts E. P. Thompson's writings on time-sense in conversation with the temporality of work on a garbage dump in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At this site, several thousand urban poor (catadores) collect recyclables for a living outside relations of wage labor. The lived experience of “woven time” on the dump, which combines labor with other activities of the everyday, has fashioned what these workers call “a different rhythm of life.” Diverging from other temporalities of neoliberal capitalism, such as “ruptured time,” woven time emerges as an important dimension of a life well lived, as conceived by catadores. Attention to the micro-temporalities of wageless work reveals how precarious forms of labor in contemporary capitalism constitute processes of subject making that both parallel and diverge from the transition to wage labor that Thompson describes in his social history of capitalism.
This article challenges the common presentation of the medieval street as a mud- and muck-filled cesspit. Using the television episode “Medieval London” of the Filthy Cities series aired by BBC Two in 2011 as a springboard, I discuss the realities of medieval waste management and modern conceptions of it. Through an examination of historical records from London, I show that the early fourteenth-century medieval street was not nearly as filthy as portrayed in Filthy Cities. Rather than being based on medieval evidence, our notion of the dirty medieval city is built on modern ideas of civility and scientific progress. Interpretations like that in Filthy Cities reflect more on our modern condition than the medieval one. The constructed dichotomy of medieval filth versus modern cleanliness obscures our contemporary waste problems and reinforces a physical and mental distance from our own waste.
Money, Trash and the Possibilities of a New Temporality
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.
Language, Literature and Ultra-Orthodox Ideology
Bruce J. Mitchell
An analysis of Yiddish language periodicals destined for a haredi reading public is fraught with difficulty. First and foremost, the very existence of such reading material is paradoxical. On the one hand haredim strongly discourage wasting time reading anything not directly related to Torah, yet on the other hand Yiddish newspapers have a much stronger readership among haredim than among secular Jews. Even the Forverts, the most widely sold secular paper in Yiddish, has a distribution of 5,000 copies per week, which is far below that of most haredi papers. As one hasid explains, it's a waste of time to read secular papers, but it's a mitsve to read the haredi news publications.