Files in this item



application/pdfJennifer_Carrera.pdf (4MB)
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Sanitation and social power in the United States
Author(s):Carrera, Jennifer
Director of Research:Jung, Moon-Kie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jung, Moon-Kie
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Marshall, Anna-Maria; Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz; Reisner, Ann E.
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
United States
Lowndes County
Metabolic Rift
Wasting Economies
Abstract:This dissertation is an investigation of the relationship between sanitation, power, and poverty in the United States. It draws from two broad theoretical lenses, political economies of race and political economies of the environment, to build a new theory of wasting economies. Using ethnographic methods, fieldwork data was collected for two case studies, Detroit, Michigan and Lowndes County, Alabama. In total, fifty-two interviews were conducted over a total of twelve months. These interviews were complemented with newspaper reports, transcripts of town hall meetings, arrest records, and locally produced fliers and newsletters. These sites were selected because Lowndes County is reported to have at least fifty percent of households experiencing failing, failed or no septic systems and Detroit has been reported to have more than forty thousand household water shutoffs per year. This project explored impaired sanitation in both a rural and an urban setting in order to elaborate on the current context of impaired sanitation among low-income populations in the United States, the policies and processes that have led to impaired sanitation conditions, as well as the impacts for residents who live with poor sanitation in these communities. Residents experienced arrests, fines, evictions, foreclosures, and child removal as a result of lack of adequate water and sanitation in the home. In these two locations with significant racial histories, race inequality has played an important role in shaping the current context of poverty in each space, in spite of colorblind perspectives that argue to the contrary. In particular, race inequalities related to housing have contributed to reduced housing security which exacerbates problems related to water and sanitation. Existing political economic theories of the environment would cast these two communities as separate from economic structures, casualties of extractive and failed productive economies; this research argues that far from separate from economic forms, these two communities have been produced through active and ongoing economic processes that cast these spaces as wasting spaces, allowing for the destruction of existing ways of living, elimination of unwanted populations, and the generation of new forms of productivity and governance through both toxic and green industries. The creation of these wasting spaces is prefaced on a hierarchical ordering of the population, made possible through racism, wherein certain people are cast as outside of legitimated forms of economy and governance.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Jennifer Carrera
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics