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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.129

Differential wastages: an anthropological analysis of garbage's governance in Sicily



Primary authors


In anthropocene, problems and opportunities related to the waste cycle can be thought of as ""total social facts"" that interconnect different areas, plans and levels of human action. These issues involve the deployment of resources of a technical-organizational, economic and legal, as well as cognitive, political and socio-cultural type. Furthermore, with increasing force, waste is shown to be a cultural and social product that is politically active both in the local and global arena (Honor Fagan 2003, Alliegro 2018), thus offering anthropology new angles from which to observe and understand the present. Through the analysis of the administrative and judicial history of a toxic waste disposal landfill located in Melilli (Sr) - a Sicilian municipality which is home to one of the largest petrochemical industrial poles in Europe - the paper aims to analyze the system of waste governance operating in Sicily, considering it representative of a more general state of environmental and economic crisis that crosses the islands. For over twenty years this system has been based on continual and urgent procedures that have made the emergency an endemic feature. The establishing of an emergency model has often offered fertile ground for infiltration by organized crime and the implementation of administrative corruption practices. The set of actors, procedures, resources, values and interests that revolve around the waste cycle allows to highlight the ways in which economic trends acting on a global scale are reconfigured in specific island contexts producing effects on the lives of individuals and communities.