Perspectives on Waste from the Social Sciences and Humanities: Opening the Bin
Waste is something we encounter on an everyday basis. Today, the waste-mountain is increasing despite ambitious measures being taken to decrease it. Consequently, increased scholarly interest is being devoted to waste, but primarily from a technocratic and scientific point of view. This compilation offers different perspectives on waste, its characteristics, and its presence in the world from social scientist and humanist standpoints. Waste is the constant companion to the human, and is thus inherent in modern society. Therefore, waste needs to be further approached and understood from a plethora of scholarly perspectives and disciplines, and further investigated through a multitude of methodologies and data collection techniques. The imagination of a future where waste-preventive actions and circular economies permeate society can only be a reality if technocratic and scientific accounts of what is to be done, when, and how, are complemented by social scientific and humanist concepts of the nature and constitution of waste. Such a perspective offers the possibility to understand how waste is constituted through relationships, language, materials, politics, practices and structures. This book shows that philosophers, historians, cultural theorists and economists have much to offer on the topic of waste as a part of everyday modern life.
Richard Ek is a human geographer and Associate Professor at the Department of Service Management and Service Studies of Lund University, Sweden. His main research interests include tourism, social sustainability and geopolitics. His main analytical focus is on how power takes spatial shapes, how the spatial shapes power and how power is distributed geographically. He has edited several books (in Swedish) on place branding, regional geography and social sustainability.
Nils Johansson is a Researcher at the Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. He takes an interest in the meeting point between materiality, technology and humans, with his current research focusing on how waste relates to institutions, how risk is addressed in a circular economy, and discourses for circulation. He has also written extensively on the becoming of resources, by uncovering the role of political support in the construction of mining and recycling practices.
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