Paprika, Foie Gras, and Red Mud

Paprika, Foie Gras, and Red Mud

The Politics of Materiality in the European Union
Zsuzsa Gille
Distribution: World
Publication date: 02/01/2016
Format: Hardback 6 b&w illus., 2 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-01938-7
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In this original and provocative study, Zsuzsa Gille examines three scandals that have shaken Hungary since it joined the European Union: the 2004 ban on paprika due to contamination, the 2008 boycott of Hungarian foie gras by Austrian animal rights activists, and the "red mud" spill of 2010, Hungary’s worst environmental disaster. In each case, Gille analyzes how practices of production and consumption were affected by the proliferation of new standards and regulations that came with entry into the EU. She identifies a new modality of power—the materialization of politics, or achieving political goals with the seemingly apolitical tools of tinkering with technology and infrastructure—and elucidates a new approach to understanding globalization, materiality, and transnational politics.

Author Bio

Zsuzsa Gille is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is author of From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Postsocialist Hungary (IUP, 2007), editor (with Maria Todorova) of Post-Communist Nostalgia, and author (with Michael Burawoy et al.) of Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World.


“Gille offers a highly original take on globalization processes in Europe, and in particular, on Eastern Europe's incorporation into the European Union. . . . [V]ery accessibly written and should thus appeal to a wide audience, including those who are interested in globalization, the European Union, Eastern Europe, contemporary social theory, and agrifood studies. . . . [A] very important contribution to scholarship.”
 — Rachel Schurman, author of Fighting for the Future of Food: Activists versus Agribusiness in the Struggle over Biotec

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Hungary and the EU in the Political and Scholarly Imagination
1. The 2004 Hungarian Paprika Ban
2. The 2008 Foie Gras Boycott
3. The 2010 Red Mud Spill
4. Neoliberalism, Molecularization, and the Shift to Governance
Conclusion: The Materialization of Politics