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©Rémi Quesnel

The moving boundaries of recycling in and beyond China
AAS-in-Asia Conference Asia in Motion: Beyond Borders and Boundaries
Seoul, 24-27 June 2017

Note: deadline in 10 days

Recycling (understood here in a broad sense) played a key role in China’s economic development since the late 1970s. It has undergone major changes in recent years, the most significant of which are perhaps the advent of large-scale, registered market players and state authorities’ increased intervention in this sector, notably through regulation, subsidization and monitoring. Discarded substances and objects of various kinds (e.g. scrap; recyclable wastes; used, obsolete or damaged products) keep on crossing borders, whether at the national, provincial, regional or local level, but their flows and fates have been affected by the aforementioned changes, as well as others.

The present panel seeks to address issues that emerge with regard to recycling, whether in, or in connection with, China. Topics could include (but are not limited to): small-scale, unregistered market players’ position, prospects and strategies; global mining supply and its impact on the use and prices of secondary raw materials; secondary raw materials’ prices and their repercussions on business models, practices and technologies; the differential industrialization of Eastern and Western China and the location of recycling clusters; urbanization, new patterns of migration and the availability of cheap manual labor; the pervasiveness of environmentalism and its role as a driver for improved resource efficiency; China’s embracement of the paradigm of ecological modernization.

We welcome papers that are based on original empirical research and informed by a social scientific (i.e. not strictly technical) approach as well as a transdisciplinary mindset. In addition — and in keeping with this year’s conference title — we encourage panelists to reflect on, and beyond, common categories and analytical frames. This could involve, for instance, showing how a particular issue transcends widespread dichotomies, such as informal vs. formal; trash vs treasure; and subject (humans) vs object (matter).

In case of interest, please send a 250 words abstract to yvan.schulz@unine.ch and benjamin.steuer@boku.ac.at before October 27. We will notify accepted panelists and transfer their abstract to the conference organizers before October 31.