Dr. Zsuzsa Gille

Dr. Zsuzsa Gille

Contact Information

702 S. Wright St. 3062LH
Urbana, IL 61801 MC-442

Office Hours

  • On leave in 2013-14
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Zsuzsa Gille is Associate Professor of Sociology at theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is author of From the Cultof Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist andPostsocialist Hungary (Indiana UniversityPress 2007—recipient of honorable mention of the AAASS Davis Prize), co-editorof Post-Communist Nostalgia with Maria Todorova (Berghahn Press 2010),and co-author of GlobalEthnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World(University of California Press, 2000).She was the special guest editor of Slavic Review’s thematic cluster onNature, Culture, Power (2009). She has published on issues of qualitativemethodology as it relates to globalization and new concepts of space, onenvironmental politics and on the sociology of food. 


Research Interests

  • Environmental Sociology
  • Eastern Europe
  • European Union
  • Global and Transnational Sociology
  • Sociology of Consumption
  • Sociology of Food
  • Sociology of Knowledge
  • Materiality
  • Waste
  • Contemporary Social Theory
  • Ethnography

Research Description

My research lies at theintersection of transnational sociology (with a focus on the European Union andpostsocialist countries), environmental sociology, and the sociology ofconsumption. Rather than constituting myself as a narrowly focused specialistin these subdisciplines, I make them speak to each other in ways that open up newresearch directions. My empirical inquiries have been motivated by theoreticalquestions concerning the nature of local-global relations, the role cultureplays in large-scale social transformations, and the role of nature and thematerial object world in shaping society. I pursue these questions empiricallyin my qualitative and historical research, which explores the relationshipbetween identity politics and economic grievances that emerge from the effectof globalization and EU legal harmonization in the areas of the environment andagriculture. I am particularly interested in environmental, safety and ethical standards in food production and their effects on economic inequality. Most recently I have turned to the investigation of materiality, that is how nature and the object world help shape society. Themethodological approach I apply, which is informed by the extended case method,relational comparison and global ethnography, allows me to study individualcases in great depth while at the same time tying them to large-scale socialtransformations.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz. 1999.

Distinctions / Awards

  • BOOK AWARD: 2008. American Association for the Study of Slavic Societies (Predecessor of ASEEES). Davis Prize, honorable mention for From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Postsocialist Hungary.
  • Evaluated as excellent teacher in Spring 2000 and Fall 2000, Fall 2002, Spring 2005, Fall 2006, Fall 2010, Spring 2011 (UIUC).

External URLs


  • SOC 596 Nature and Technology from Transnational Perspective
  • SOC 582 Global Ethnographies: A Graduate Study in Local-Global Relations
  • SOC 501 Contemporary Theory: Power, Culture and Subjectivity
  • SOC 522 Recent Developments in the Study of Postsocialism
  • SOC 447 Environmental Sociology: Nature, Culture, Power
  • SOC 480 Fieldwork Methods: Consuming Observations
  • SOC 366 Postsocialism: Economy, Culture and Power in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
  • SOC 496ZG Identity, Culture, and Citizenship in the New European Union
  • SOC 396 Globalization From Below

Selected Publications

Website Articles

Is there an emancipatory ontology of matter? Response to Myra Hird Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2013.
Commentary on Tim Cooper’s ‘Recycling Modernity: Towards an Environmental History of Waste’ Compass Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference. Wiley-Blackwell 2009.

Encyclopedia Entries

“Socialist Societies.” Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste Sage 2012.
“Sociology of Waste.” Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste Sage 2012.

Book Contributions

“Global Ethnography 2.0: Materializing the Transnational.” Beyond Methodological Nationalism Research Methodologies for Cross-Border Studies. edited by Anna Amelina, edited by Devrimsel Nergiz, edited by Thomas Faist, edited by Nina Schiller. “Global Ethnography 2.0: Materializing the Transnational.” Edited by Anna Amelina, Edited by Devrimsel Nergiz, Edited by Thomas Faist, Edited by Nina Schiller, New York Routledge 2012, p. 93-110.
"The Tale of the Toxic Paprika: The Hungarian Taste of Euro-Globalization.” Food and Everyday Life in Postsocialist Eurasia "The Tale of the Toxic Paprika: The Hungarian Taste of Euro-Globalization.” Bloomington Indiana University Press 2009, p. 97-128.
Materiality Framing the Global Materiality Bloomington Indiana University Press 2014.
Food, leftovers, and waste The Handbook of Food Research Food, leftovers, and waste Berg Publishers 2013.

Journal Articles

“The Hungarian Foie Gras Boycott: Struggles for Moral Sovereignty in Postsocialist Europe.” Eastern European Politics and Societies 25 2011, p. 114-128..
“Is There a Global Postsocialist Condition?” Global Society 24 1 2010, p. 9-30.
“Reassembling the Macrosocial: Modes of Production, Actor Networks and Waste Regimes.” Environment and Planning A 2010, p. 1049-1064..
Gille, Zsuzsa From Nature as Proxy to Nature as Actor Slavic Review 68 1 2009.
Gille, Zsuzsa Europeanising hungarian waste policies: Progress or regression? Environmental Politics 13 1 2004, p. 114-+.
Gille, Zsuzsa, and Sean O'Riain “Global Ethnography.” Annual Review of Sociology 28 2002, p. 271-95.
From Risk to Waste: Global Food Waste Regimes The Sociological Review Monograph Series 2013.

Special Issues of a Journal

Nature, Culture and Power Slavic Review 68 1 2009.


Post-Communist Nostalgia edited by Zsuzsa Gille, edited by Maria Todorova. Edited by Zsuzsa Gille, Edited by Maria Todorova, New York Berghahn Press 2009.
Gille, Zsuzsa From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Postsocialist Hungary Indiana University Press 2007.
Gille, Zsuzsa, Michael Burawoy, Joseph A. Blum, Sheba George, Teresa Gowan, Lynne Haney, Maren Klawiter, Steven H. Lopez, Sean O Riain, and Millie Thayer Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World. Berkeley, CA University of California Press 2000.