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Personal profile

Personal profile

Zsuzsa Gille is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is author of From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History: The Politics of Waste in Socialist and Postsocialist Hungary (Indiana University Press 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 Global Ethnography: 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 on Nature, Culture, Power (2009). She has published on issues of qualitative methodology as it relates to globalization and new concepts of space, on environmental 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
Contemporary Social Theory

Professional Information

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.

Honors & 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).



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

Office Address

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

Office Phone

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Research Output

The Socialist Good Life: Desire, Development, and Standards of Living in Eastern Europe

Scarboro, C., Mincytė, D. & Gille, Z., Jun 1 2020, (Accepted/In press) Indiana University Press.

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

  • Introduction: From comparison to relationality

    Gille, Z., Jan 1 2017, In : Slavic Review. 76, 2, p. 285-290 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

    Introduction to the special section: Discourses of economic behaviour in times of instability

    Gille, Z. & Hájek, M., Jan 1 2017, In : Sociologicky Casopis. 53, 6, p. 799-803 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Paprika, Foie Gras, and Red Mud: The Politics of Materiality in the European Union

    Gille, Z., Jan 1 2016, Indiana University Press. 180 p. (Global Research Studies)

    Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

  • Activities

    • 8 Invited talk
    • 2 Editorial activity
    • 1 Membership of board
    • 1 Membership of committee

    Is there a Global Postsocialist Condition?

    Zsuzsa Gille (Invited speaker)


    Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

    Ethnography (Journal)

    Zsuzsa Gille (Editor)

    2009 → …

    Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity

    What is Red in Hungary's 2010 Red Mud Spill?

    Zsuzsa Gille (Invited speaker)

    Feb 24 2011

    Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

    Slavic Review (Journal)

    Zsuzsa Gille (Editor)


    Activity: Editorial work typesEditorial activity