The Dirt

dirt-fabricDiscard studies is an interdisciplinary field that takes waste and wasting as its topic of study. To keep practitioners up-to-date, Discard Studies publishes The Dirt, a monthly compilation of recent publications, positions, opportunities, and calls for proposals in the field. Since Discard Studies has been on a break, we have 6 months worth of Dirt to share this month!

Discard Studies Posts

Publications (articles & books)

Dissertations& Theses

Special Issues

Book Reviews

New Journal

Detritus:  Multidisciplinary Journal for Waste Resources and Residues Detritus is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal which publishes papers on waste resources, residue management and engineering, also with a focus on social needs and developments. Research articles, position and prospect papers, case studies, country reports, new technologies developments and full-scale applications, examples of “best practice”, policies and strategies and papers on lessons to be learned are welcomed.


WYNC’s Radiolab has a new episode out called Post No Evil. It’s an exploration of how Facebook attempts to systematize the difference between permitted and prohibited posts. It’s also a fantastic lesson in the significance of Mary Douglas’ famous adage that “where there is dirt, there is system”. This episode from Radiolab is a good demonstration of how Douglas’ formula works in both directions: not only does dirt signal system, but where there is system, inevitably there is dirt. “Post No Evil” is a good way of thinking about the differences between discard studies and waste studies. It’s also a nice demonstration of the idea that technology is society made durable.

Calls for Papers & Proposals

Conferences and Events

NatureCultures, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Sápmi, Finland, November 22–23, 2018.  Ecological compensation, biodiversity offsetting, no net loss of biodiversity, ecosystem services, low-carbon economy, ecoinnovation, circular economy, zero waste, active energy citizenship, resilience and bioeconomy. These are examples of concepts that have in the past few years steered the conversations of the management of natural resources, environmental protection and environmental politics and greatly influenced political agendas. A growing awareness of the climate change, of the sixth wave of extinction and of other irreversible changes in our environment has influenced the emergence of re-conceptualizations of the eco-sociality of societies. It has sensitized subjects to identify the most critical question for the future policies and research: How to
comprehend the co-existence of nature and society.

Festival of Maintenance, September 22, London, UK. The Festival of Maintenance is a celebration of those who maintain different parts of our world, and how they do it, recognising the often hidden work done in repair, custodianship, stewardship, tending and caring for the things that matter. It will be a full day (10am – 5pm) of short talks and discussions with a diverse range of maintainers, custodians, community managers, repairers and stewards, and those who support them. Afterwards we’ll be adjourning to a local pub to continue the conversations.

Positions and Opportunities


If you have an item to add to The Dirt, please contact We are especially interested in non-English language submissions, and those from outside North America.

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