Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life

William A. Cohen, Co-Editor, with Ryan Johnson
University of Minnesota Press, 2005

This new volume of essays explores what waste reveals about the culture that creates it. From floating barges of urban refuse to dung-encrusted works of art, from toxic landfills to dirty movies, filth has become a major presence and a point of volatile contention in modern life. This book explores the question of what filth has to do with culture: what critical role the lost, the rejected, the abject, and the dirty play in social management and identity formation. It suggests the ongoing power of culturally mandated categories of exclusion and repression.