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Winner, Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award, presented by the Environment & Technology section of the American Sociological Association
Environmentalism usually calls to mind images of peace and serenity, a oneness with nature, and a shared sense of responsibility. But one town in Colorado, under the guise of environmental protection, passed a resolution limiting immigration, bolstering the privilege of the wealthy and scapegoating Latin American newcomers for the area’s current and future ecological problems. This might have escaped attention save for the fact that this wasn’t some rinky-dink backwater. It was Aspen, Colorado, playground of the rich and famous and the West’s most elite ski town.
Tracking the lives of immigrant laborers through several years of exhaustive fieldwork and archival digging, The Slums of Aspen tells a story that brings together some of the most pressing social problems of the day: environmental crises, immigration, and social inequality. Park and Pellow demonstrate how these issues are intertwined in the everyday experiences of people who work and live in this wealthy tourist community.
Offering a new understanding of a little known class of the super-elite, of low-wage immigrants (mostly from Latin America) who have become the foundation for service and leisure in this famous resort, and of the recent history of the ski industry, Park and Pellow expose the ways in which Colorado boosters have reshaped the landscape and altered ecosystems in pursuit of profit and pleasure. Of even greater urgency, they frame how environmental degradation and immigration reform have become inextricably linked in many regions of the American West, a dynamic that interferes with the efforts of valorous environmental causes, often turning away from conservation and toward insidious racial privilege.
About the Author
Lisa Sun-Hee Park is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Consuming Citizenship: Children of Asian Immigrant Entrepreneurs and the co-author, with David Pellow, of The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America's Eden and Silicon Valley of Dreams: Immigrant Labor, Environmental Injustice, and the High Tech Global Economy, also available from NYU Press.
David N. Pellow is the Dehlsen Chair of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His teaching and research focus on environmental and ecological justice in the U.S. and globally.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Environmental Privilege in the Rocky Mountains
1 The Logic of Aspen
2 The Ultimate Elite Retreat
3 Living in Someone Else’s Paradise
4 Nativism and the Environmental Movement
5 Advocacy and Social Justice Workers
Conclusion: Dreams of Privilege/Visions of Justice
Notes on Research Methods
About the Authors
What People are Saying About This
Park and Pellow offer a blistering critique of environmental privilege and immigrant discrimination within the Rocky Mountains' elite playground of Aspen, Colorado...their argument effectively extends well beyond Aspen's ski slopes and elite shopping streets.-M.M. Gunter Jr.,CHOICE
"Documents, observation, and interview material over a number of years combine to give a full picture of the situation...the book's rich background of Aspen and the whole state's history is nicely provided, and the interesting flow of history and people's everday lives make Slums of Aspen very accessible."-American Journal of Sociology,
"The authors...make a convincing and highly disturbing case about how some of the nation's most prominent promoters of sustainability depend on the labor of immigrants to enjoy privileged lives amidst a lovely environment."-In These Times,
"A pair of sociologists, in their new book, paint a damning picture of the stark inequalities between local immigrant laborers and Aspen vacationers and the wealthy homeowners they serve." -Andrew Travers,Aspen Daily News
"A clear description of a troubling problem and an important contribution to debates on immigration policy."-Kirkus