“In this issue of lo Squaderno we aim to discuss a good number of garbage stories. Today, garbage has immediate political significance, whether in the form of ecological and sanitary emergency, or in the form of disciplination of certain population segments. Indeed, waste provides a crucial complementary value in late-capitalist processes of differential accumulation: it is a marginal element that in fact turns out to play a central role in contemporary extractive logics of capitalism. Questioning waste, in all its possible political meanings, thus implies to directly address the complex and central place occupied by the margins in current late-neoliberal governmental politics.
On the one side, waste disposal is an activity that heavily touches upon territories, to the point of not simply polluting areas but also leaving permanent stigmas upon them. Living near – or even inside – a dump, or in proximity of polluting implants, provides, in many places around the world, the ideal recipe for urban stigmatization and marginalization. Garbage thus functions as quintessential social anti-value: its contamination is double, at once biological and moral. Disposals mis-management recurrently leads to mediatized alarms that clear the ground for all sorts of emergency measures that prove capable of systematically trumping democratic procedures.”