Honorable Mention, 2008 AAASS Davis Center Prize
Zsuzsa Gille combines social history, cultural analysis, and environmental sociology to advance a long overdue social theory of waste in this study of waste management, Hungarian state socialism, and post–Cold War capitalism. From 1948 to the end of the Soviet period, Hungary developed a cult of waste that valued reuse and recycling. With privatization the old environmentally beneficial, though not flawless, waste regime was eliminated, and dumping and waste incineration were again promoted. Gille’s analysis focuses on the struggle between a Budapest-based chemical company and the small rural village that became its toxic dump site.