- There is a LOT of money in waste management, and therefore interest
- Used to study urban history, environmental politics, social behavior, social movements, capitalism, modernity, risk, regulation and governance.
- Moore argues that garbage ‘disturbs the smooth rubbing of things’
- Explores how is waste defined (is it positive or negative?), and how is waste related to society
- Do objects shape society or does society shape objects?
Quadrant 1 (Positivity/Dualist):
- Waste has specific characteristics and is separate from society. Waste is a hazard, commodity, object of management
- Hazards result from uneven disposal
- Unevenly distributed environmental risks.
- Animal waste, toxic materials
- Hard to regulate because local pollution could have originated from other, far away areas
- Waste is also a resource via recycling municipal solid waste management, scavenging etc.
- Re-enter formal cycles of economic production, or reused in informal systems
- Valuing waste as a resource could de-marginalize people who depend on scavenging
- Waste can be a commodity via trading. Circuits of exchange
- International trade in hazardous waste, electronic waste
- Waste is something to be managed. Solid waste management
- Usually arises in urban environments
- Can be seen as an object that exists in space, separate to society. “As a manageable object, waste is open to technical and institutional solutions.”
- Landfills are a form of archive for society and culture. Used as artifacts
- A record of previous and contemporary social relationships
Quadrant 2 (Negativity/Dualist):
- Waste is not given a specific meaning based on a physical characteristic
- Defined by its inability to be categorized. It is out of place
- Hard to categorize because what people consider waste is different depending on the culture
- Waste has played a part in excluding certain groups of people from social, political and physical spaces
- Border crossers from Mexico are ‘out of place’ litterers
- Disposing of waste is a constitutive of social and ethical activity
- Waste has to be seen as dangerous to encourage people to recycle it
Quadrant 3 (Positivity/Relational):
- Waste is internally related to society. Waste is filthy, and disgusting and needs to be removed from sight/smell
- Can be provoked to be a powerful political stance. Where to put a dump/waste plant?
- Waste is a hazard/risk. Focus on risk management and risk posed to different populations
- Waste as a powerful uncontrollable actor makes it have an emergent relationship with society.
- Doesn’t look just at physical risks, but on modernization
- Waste is a fetishized commodity
- It has a use and exchange value, but it also obscures the social relationships behind its production and circulation
- Embodies the social relations of its production, but becomes obscure when it is in surplus
- Objects are temporary
Quadrant 4 (Negativity/Relational):
- Pays less attention to a specific quality of waste, but sees it as a constitutive element in sociospatial relationship and economics
- Waste is unvalued and not defined. It is expelled by society in order to shore up individual and societal borders
- Focuses on the creation of waste as a governable object
- How waste becomes an object that needs to be managed , how is waste understood and categorized