Flammable: An Ethnography of Environmental Suffering


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


Drawing upon archival research and long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Flammable shantytown (a poverty enclave located in the outskirts of the city of Buenos Aires), this project places the (contaminated) environment at the center of the study of urban marginality in Latin America. In particular, the project describes the life-threatening effects of environmental contamination in the shantytown and explains the meanings its residents ascribe to it. The main questions the study addresses are the following: How do poor people make sense of (and cope with) toxic danger? When and why do they fail to understand (and to act on) what is objectively a clear and present danger? How and why are (mis)perceptions shared within a community?