The Second Half of Leonia. Waste, Morality, Power and Reputation in a highland alpine valley

This paper is the outcome of three weeks of fieldwork in an alpine highland valley, conducted within the framework of the master’s degree in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Vienna. Adopting a political ecology perspective grounded in the notions of waste regime (Gille 2007) and mass waste (Reno 2014) the paper analyses the disposal system of the valley focussing on two groups of workers that were primarily engaged with waste: dustmen and municipality workers. The findings show how morality, surveillance and reputation were features that both groups had to deal with, despite occasionally adopting different strategies with different outcomes, that also shaped the disposal system and waste conceptualisation within the valley. In the conclusion it is eventually proposed to reformulate Gille’s notion of waste regime, especially considering not only how waste is perceived but also how it is enacted and to extend the political aspect of garbage to encompass all dimensions of everyday life.