This session picks up on work that posits an understanding of waste as emergent, or as co-emerging alongside certain configurations (of governance) (e.g., Gille 2007, 2010; Gregson et al 2007; Hird 2012; Lepawsky and Mather 2011). As Brian Wynne points out, “waste exist[s] in the twilight zone where no clear, ‘natural’ definition of [it] can be given, within wide margins of uncertainty and variation” (1987: 1). Rather than being something that “just is” (Gregson and Crang 2010), waste must be made, brought into being, either materially or conceptually. Importantly, this bringing into being is far from linear and permanent. Rather, it is provisional, always subject to error and spatial and temporal variability, such as through the variability of value demonstrated by the material flows of e-waste through various jurisdictions around the world (Lepawsky and Mather 2011), to historical shifts in political leadership and “waste regimes” over time (Gille 2007, 2010).
This session would be an exploration of the idea that certain forms of governance can be materially and conceptually generative of waste. This particular line of reasoning is in contrast (though not in opposition) to other work that examines waste as pre-existing and in need of governing or management (e.g., Barr and Gilg 2007; Bulkeley et al, 2005, 2007; Davies 2008; Hird, Lougheed, Rowe and Kuyvenhoven 2014; Lougheed, Hird, and Rowe 2015). The ambition of this session is not to downplay this line of reasoning, but rather to move forward and invigorate theoretical and empirical exploration of waste’s emergence.Ideally the session would consist of papers that provide unique case studies of the “wastes of governance”.
Papers could take up different perspectives of governance, different types of wasting, different spatial or temporal contexts, and so on. Papers are welcomed that cover diverse topics including, but not limited to:
– Communism
– Capitalism
– Liberalism
– Neo-liberalism
– Historical governance (E.g., feudalism)
– Aboriginal/indigenous governance or encounters with colonial/settler governance
– “non-western” governing structures
– Food waste
– e-waste
– Municipal solid waste
– Industrial wastes
– Hazardous wastes

Although the hope is for a diverse set of papers, two or more papers overlapping in one area or another would be acceptable.

Scott Lougheed, MA
PhD Candidate, School of Environmental Studies
Queen’s University at Kingston