Progress in Human Geography just published Sarah A. Moore’s “Garbage Matters: Concepts in new geographies of waste.”

An excerpt: “In order to demonstrate the myriad ways that waste disturbs, I therefore abstract the concepts from their roles as lenses in particular subfields, and focus instead on how each concept relates to two questions: how is waste defined (as a positivity or negativity) and how is waste related to society (in a dualist or relational way; see Figure 1). I further argue that the disturbances caused by waste and other such parallax objects might provide opportunities for what Isin calls ‘[b]eing political’ – those ‘moment[s] when the naturalness of the dominant virtues is called into question and their arbitrariness revealed’ (Isin, 2002: 275). Throughout the paper, therefore, I highlight the ways that attempts to understand waste from multiple vantages are fruitful avenues for a politics of things (cf. Braun and Whatmore, 2010) that interrogates the modernist shibboleths of cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation, and the often unjust and highly exclusionary sociospatial orders produced through them (cf. Isin, 2002; Sibley, 1995; Stallybrass and White, 1986).”

If you are new to discard studies, or if you are looking for a teaching tool, Moore creates a great diagram categorizing many of the dominant concepts of waste:

Other texts by Sarah Moore include:

“Global Garbage: Waste, Trash Trading, and Local Garbage Politics” in Global Political Ecology, Richard Peet, Paul Robbins and Michael J. Watts, editors. London: Routledge. 2011

Environment and Society: A Critical Introduction. Paul Robbins, John Hintz and Sarah A. Moore. London: Blackwell. 2010

The Excess of Modernity: Garbage Politics in Oaxaca Mexico”, The Professional Geographer 61:4,426-437

The Politics of Garbage in Oaxaca, Mexico” Society and Natural Resources Volume 21:7:596-610.