On June 26, 2022, Marisa Solomon, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, published a book review in Anthropological Quarterly, which examines Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins’ book, “Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine.” Stamatopoulou-Robbins’ work explores the idea of “environmental slow violence,” and instances where settler colonial markers of progress require people, land, and communities to remain stuck in the past in order to facilitate the “modern” march forward. The book specifically takes into account the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and the impact of poor waste management in the area.
Solomon emphasizes how Stamatopoulou-Robbins’ ethnography of infrastructure offers a different analytic to describe the political siege on Palestinian lives. The book explores how waste moves in and through the area. As Solomon explains, the work argues that “governing waste in Palestine is as much a question of sovereignty as it is a problem of toxic besiegement.” Waste becomes a condition of colonial power, as multiple authorities governing Palestine rule by their management of it, constituting a “siege-like” environmental context.
Solomon explains that the language of “siege” often describes a military strategy that “encircles from without.” By considering waste as infrastructural and a siege in its own right, the concept includes that which emits from within. Solomon noted that this “waste siege” characterizes various types of sovereign force, as well as elements of siege or modes through which one might think of waste siege as part of everyday life under the Israeli occupation.