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Was There a Socialocene? From Capitalocene to Transnational Waste Regimes

Authors: Zsuzsa Gille*, University of Illinois
Topics: Anthropocene, East Europe, Environment
Keywords: capitalocene, waste, state socialism, postsocialism
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In this paper I will present a relational, and multiscalar perspective on how state socialism interacted with and shaped the Capitalocene, especially in the postwar period Steffan et al (2015) call “the great acceleration.” This connection becomes more visible when viewed through the lens of waste and through a transnational version of my earlier concept of the waste regime. I will demonstrate how state socialism affected the Wasteocene (Armiero and De Angelis 2017) by two mechanisms, one in the sphere of consumption, the other in the sphere of production. One connection is the threat of communism contributing to mass consumption and throw-away society in the West. The other is the use of centrally planned economies’ natural resources and natural environment as “cheap nature,” in Moore’s sense. I will demonstrate the latter through a case study in which a Hungarian chemical company manufactured the intermediary compound for Agent Orange.

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