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Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago Paperback – Sep 17 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (Sept. 17 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026266187X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262661874
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,895,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

With more landfills per square mile than any other American city, Chicago has had some particularly colorful controversies over waste disposal over the last century. University of Colorado-Boulder sociology professor David Naguib Pellow traces these conflicts in Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago, examining how poor neighborhoods come to be burdened with a disproportionate amount of pollution and refuse. He offers background on Chicago's waste management from the 1880s to the present, focusing in particular on the struggle for environmental justice of the last two decades, and shows how "environmentally friendly" technologies like recycling plants and waste-to-energy incinerators actually end up adding to the pollution in poor neighborhoods.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


This is one of the most original, thought-provoking works on environmental justice that I have seen in some time. Its significance lies in Pellow's unique ability to get at the often unspoken issues that affect the movement and its future direction.

(Jim Schwab, American Planning Association, author of Deeper Shades of Green)

Garbage Wars provides a detailed and fascinating historical account of an important environmental issue. David Pellow demonstrates that links between waste disposal and environmental injustice are not a recent phenomenon but rather have existed for a century and more. He shows that environmental inequalities result from a complex struggle among multiple stakeholders with varying interests and access to power. This is a truly groundbreaking work that uncovers the roots of an important environmental and social problem.

(Paul Mohai, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan)

Pellow employs the notion of the 'treadmill of production' along with theoretical insights from race and ethnic studies to reveal the contradictions and complexities of the urban recycling and waste management economy. With the publication of Garbage Wars, David Pellow has established himself as one of foremost theorists and researchers on environmental inequalities and enviornmental justice.

(Frederick H. Buttell, Professor of Rural Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

David N. Pellow has written a unique study. Garbage Wars examines environmental racism and environmental justice from a variety of vantage points, including those of workers and whole neighborhoods. In doing so, he raises important questions about how society confronts its waste problems, and who ultimately pays for the choices made.

(Martin V. Melosi, Distinguished University Professor, University of Houston, Author of The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in America from Colonial Times to the Present)

...insightfully assesses the ability of those at the bottom of the heap to mount an effective resistance for environmental justice.


...An indispensable book for anyone interested in waste...or the continued effects of racism and classism in American society.

(The Public Historian)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa2d04a5c) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
HASH(0xa3b73ee4) out of 5 stars thought provoking book. Sept. 13 2013
By Marijke van Roojen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do you know what happens to your own garbage? Who has to deal with you waste? Recycling? Interesting history of racial discrimination that harms so many of our communities from the perspective of what happens with our garbage. What an eye opening book!
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d71f00) out of 5 stars very interesting, but don't let this be your only guide Nov. 5 2007
By Fiona - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I came across this book while doing research on community-based organizations and the environment in Chicago. It's very informative because it gives a historical overview of Chicago's waste management, and because it gets into the nitty-gritty of conflicts within nonprofits in Chicago. There were a couple places though where I had to raise my eyebrow because the analysis seemed a little suspect. For example, the author uses cases of illegal dumping in Chicago to show how minority groups may be more concerned with recycling and the environment than is often thought in mainstream environmental organizations. It seems a little strange to equate recycling centers, and companies that only call themselves recyclers but are actually illegal dumpers.
HASH(0xa2d71dc8) out of 5 stars Five Stars Jan. 12 2015
By Whitney Gray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good Quality