Picking Up On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City

Author: Robin Nagle
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1466836733
Format: PDF, Kindle
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America's largest city generates garbage in torrents—11,000 tons from households each day on average. But New Yorkers don't give it much attention. They leave their trash on the curb or drop it in a litter basket, and promptly forget about it. And why not? On a schedule so regular you could almost set your watch by it, someone always comes to take it away. But who, exactly, is that someone? And why is he—or she—so unknown? In Picking Up, the anthropologist Robin Nagle introduces us to the men and women of New York City's Department of Sanitation and makes clear why this small army of uniformed workers is the most important labor force on the streets. Seeking to understand every aspect of the Department's mission, Nagle accompanied crews on their routes, questioned supervisors and commissioners, and listened to story after story about blizzards, hazardous wastes, and the insults of everyday New Yorkers. But the more time she spent with the DSNY, the more Nagle realized that observing wasn't quite enough—so she joined the force herself. Driving the hulking trucks, she obtained an insider's perspective on the complex kinships, arcane rules, and obscure lingo unique to the realm of sanitation workers. Nagle chronicles New York City's four-hundred-year struggle with trash, and traces the city's waste-management efforts from a time when filth overwhelmed the streets to the far more rigorous practices of today, when the Big Apple is as clean as it's ever been. Throughout, Nagle reveals the many unexpected ways in which sanitation workers stand between our seemingly well-ordered lives and the sea of refuse that would otherwise overwhelm us. In the process, she changes the way we understand cities—and ourselves within them.

Picking Up On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City

Author: Robin Nagle
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374534271
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"Meticulous . . . [Nagle's] passion for the subject really comes to life." --The New York Times New York City produces more than twelve thousand tons of household trash and recyclables a day. As quickly as it accumulates, it's hauled away. But who makes that happen? What's life like for the workers with careers built around garbage? In Picking Up, the anthropologist Robin Nagle takes us inside New York City's Department of Sanitation, a largely unseen and often unloved army responsible for keeping the city alive. Nagle spent a decade with sanitation people of all ranks to learn what it takes to manage Gotham's garbage. She even took the job herself, driving trucks and plowing snow while enduring the physical aches, public abuse, and risk of injury that are constant realities of the job. Nagle offers an insider's perspective on the complex hierarchies, intricate rules, and obscure language unique to this mostly invisible world. Not just a contemporary account, Picking Up charts New York City's four-hundred-year struggle with trash. It traces the city's waste-management efforts from a time when filth overwhelmed the streets to today's far more vigorous practices, which have made the city cleaner than it's been in decades. Complete with vividly evoked characters and memorable descriptions of the sights and smells of the job, Picking Up reveals the vital role sanitation workers play in every city across the globe.

Fat of the Land

Author: Benjamin Miller
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9781568581729
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A fascinating hidden history of trash peels back the lid on two centuries of garbage disposal in New York City, surveying the philosophies, technologies and personalities that have shaped this rich story. Original.

Social and Cultural Anthropology A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Monaghan
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578290
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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If you want to know what anthropology is, look at what anthropologists do. This Very Short Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology combines an accessible account of some of the disciplines guiding principles and methodology with abundant examples and illustrations of anthropologists at work. Peter Just and John Monaghan begin by discussing anthropologys most important contributions to modern thought: its investigation of culture as a distinctively human characteristic, its doctrine of cultural relativism, and its methodology of fieldwork and ethnography. They then examine specific ways in which social and cultural anthropology have advanced our understanding of human society and culture, drawing on examples from their own fieldwork. The book ends with an assessment of anthropologys present position, and a look forward to its likely future. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Taming Manhattan

Author: Catherine McNeur
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674725093
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From 1815 to 1865, as city blocks encroached on farmland to accommodate Manhattan’s exploding population, prosperous New Yorkers developed new ideas about what an urban environment should contain—ideas that poorer immigrants resisted. As Catherine McNeur shows, taming Manhattan came at the cost of amplifying environmental and economic disparities.

Clean and White

Author: Carl A. Zimring
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 147985803X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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When Joe Biden attempted to compliment Barack Obama by calling him “clean and articulate,” he unwittingly tapped into one of the most destructive racial stereotypes in American history. This book tells the history of the corrosive idea that whites are clean and those who are not white are dirty. From the age of Thomas Jefferson to the Memphis Public Workers strike of 1968 through the present day, ideas about race and waste have shaped where people have lived, where people have worked, and how American society’s wastes have been managed. Clean and White offers a history of environmental racism in the United States focusing on constructions of race and hygiene. In the wake of the civil war, as the nation encountered emancipation, mass immigration, and the growth of an urbanized society, Americans began to conflate the ideas of race and waste. Certain immigrant groups took on waste management labor, such as Jews and scrap metal recycling, fostering connections between the socially marginalized and refuse. Ethnic “purity” was tied to pure cleanliness, and hygiene became a central aspect of white identity. Carl A. Zimring here draws on historical evidence from statesmen, scholars, sanitarians, novelists, activists, advertisements, and the United States Census of Population to reveal changing constructions of environmental racism. The material consequences of these attitudes endured and expanded through the twentieth century, shaping waste management systems and environmental inequalities that endure into the twenty-first century. Today, the bigoted idea that non-whites are “dirty” remains deeply ingrained in the national psyche, continuing to shape social and environmental inequalities in the age of Obama.

Economies of Recycling

Author: Catherine Alexander
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd.
ISBN: 178032197X
Format: PDF, Docs
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For some, recycling is a big business; for others a moralised way of engaging with the world. But, for many, this is a dangerous way of earning a living. With scrap now being the largest export category from the US to China, the sheer scale of this global trade has not yet been clearly identified or analysed. Combining fine-grained ethnographic analysis with overviews of international material flows, Economies of Recycling radically changes the way we understand global and local economies as well as the new social relations and identities created by recycling processes. Following global material chains, this groundbreaking book reveals astonishing connections between persons, households, cities and global regions as objects are reworked, taken to pieces and traded. With case studies from Africa, Latin America, South Asia, China, the former Soviet Union, North America and Europe, this timely collection debunks common linear understandings of production, exchange and consumption and argues for a complete re-evaluation of North-South economic relationships.

Trash Talks

Author: Elizabeth V. Spelman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190239352
Format: PDF
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A lively investigation of the intimate connections we maintain with the things we toss away It's hard to think of trash as anything but a growing menace. Our communities face crises over what to do with the mountains of rubbish we produce, the enormous amount of biological waste generated by humans and animals, and the truckloads of electronic equipment judged to be obsolete. All this effluvia poses widespread problems for human health, the well-being of the planet, and the quality of our lives. But though our notorious habits of disposal have put us well on the way to making the earth inhospitable to life, our relation to rejectamenta includes much more than shedding and tossing. In Trash Talks, philosopher Elizabeth V. Spelman explores the extent to which we rely on trash and waste to make sense of our lives. Examples are rich: We use people's rubbish to gain information about them. We trumpet wastefulness as a means of signaling social status. We take the occupation of handling trash and garbage as revelatory of possible moral or spiritual shortcomings. We are intrigued by or in distress over the idea that evolution is a prodigiously wasteful process and that it is to the dustbin that each of us, and our species, shall ultimately repair. In the heaps of our trash, some see consequences of dissatisfaction, while others find confirmation of a flourishing consumer economy. While we may want to shove debris and detritus out of sight, many of our most impassioned projects involve keeping these objects resolutely in mind. Trash talks, and there is much of which it speaks.

The Story of N

Author: Hugh S. Gorman
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 081355439X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In The Story of N, Hugh S. Gorman analyzes the notion of sustainability from a fresh perspective—the integration of human activities with the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen—and provides a supportive alternative to studying sustainability through the lens of climate change and the cycling of carbon. It is the first book to examine the social processes by which industrial societies learned to bypass a fundamental ecological limit and, later, began addressing the resulting concerns by establishing limits of their own The book is organized into three parts. Part I, “The Knowledge of Nature,” explores the emergence of the nitrogen cycle before humans arrived on the scene and the changes that occurred as stationary agricultural societies took root. Part II, “Learning to Bypass an Ecological Limit,” examines the role of science and market capitalism in accelerating the pace of innovation, eventually allowing humans to bypass the activity of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Part III, “Learning to Establish Human-Defined Limits,” covers the twentieth-century response to the nitrogen-related concerns that emerged as more nitrogenous compounds flowed into the environment. A concluding chapter, “The Challenge of Sustainability,” places the entire story in the context of constructing an ecological economy in which innovations that contribute to sustainable practices are rewarded.