Elana Resnick

Weatherhead Resident Scholar

2014–2015

Nothing Ever Perishes: Waste, Work, and Transformation in an Expanding European Union

Elana ResnickElana ResnickPhoto by William Geoghegan
Elana ResnickPhoto by William Geoghegan

Based on forty months of fieldwork in Bulgaria conducted on city streets, in landfills, Roma neighborhoods, executive offices, and at the Ministry of the Environment, this project examines the juncture of material waste management and social discrimination, specifically highlighting the intersection between physical garbage and the Roma minority, often considered “social trash” by non-Romani people throughout Europe. This research studies phases of trash objects and the related life stages of the people dealing with them in order to analyze the following: 1) how notions of European progress take shape in relation to the Roma and 2) how EU policy reform affects consumption and discard patterns and the effect it has on segments of the population, and 3) how looking at trash—as object and metaphor—can help us understand how social hierarchy is normalized.

Affiliation at time of award:
PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


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