Waste is not “matter out of place”

shoes on table text

Waste, trash, filth, and discards are often defined as “matter out of place.” How often? Pretty damn often. As of April 2, 2019, Google says the phrase appears 24,362 times in published work. Scopus says Douglas’s Purity and Danger has been cited 7,363, times since 1970. The range of disciplines of those 7,363 citations is wide: well over half come from social sciences and humanities, but medicine (5%), economics (2%), and psychology (4%) also make an appearance.1


Scopus’ 7,363 citations of Purity and Danger categorized by the discipline of the journal where the citing article is published. As of April 2, 2019.

trash-99257_960_720But: Douglas specifically says that trash is not matter out of place: “rubbish is not dangerous. It does not even create ambiguous perceptions since it clearly belongs in a defined place, a rubbish heap of one kind or another.”2 Even when trash is not in a rubbish heap or bin, it still has a place and is merely displaced in space, not “out of place.” Or at least not necessarily.

I urge discard studies scholars, teachers, and writers to clarify how and why they are using the idea of “matter out of place” in relation to discards because I find that there are three different core ways matter out of place is used in relation to discards, and they are not synonymous and each have different meanings and ramifications, but usually, they are conflated. “Matter out of place” is used:

  1. as a way to theorize power and power relations, particularly how power is maintained when challenged;
  2. as a way to think about the relationship between “brute” materials (PVC, dead bodies, recyclables) and the social, political, and cultural work of uneven relations with materials (toxic injustice, purity, abjection);
  3. as a spatial argument, sometimes in terms of how spatiality is a technique of power, and sometimes in a more literal sense of where something is or is not, such as in sorting practices.

Some of these uses of matter out of place build on each other and are complementary, and sometimes they are used in mutually exclusive ways. Often, I see them used without attention to the important differences between them. As some scholars have noted, “It is almost too easy to repeat it without further critical reflection or contextualisation: it becomes reified. Even if we accept the argument, numerous writers since Douglas have observed, as Mary Douglas’ biographer and literary executor Richard Fardon notes, “that the formulation is not reversible: all matter out of place is not dirt’.”3 We want to de-reify the phrase and recover the concept of dirt’s specific strength and usefulness as a theory of power.

31laaotiO+L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Are we flogging a dead horse? Hasn’t Douglas been picked over enough? Aren’t we over Douglas? I don’t think so, for two reasons: first, I find that many, many scholars are using the idea of matter out of place in contradictory ways that have acute implications for theories of power. This is important because many of us who might self identify with the field of discard studies are dedicated to justice and good relations in our work, and conflating different theories of power may actually have effects that scholars are opposed to!4 That is, scholars and students may be against oppression and would like to intervene into structures of power, but their use of “matter out of place” conflates different theories of power that can actually allow techniques of power to go unnoticed, and may even contribute to naturalizing them. Secondly, when I dug into the work of uncovering the uses and circulations of “matter out of place,” the editors of Discard Studies, three seasoned scholars of discard studies, came across some surprises!

In short, while “matter out of place” has been used to talk about both blue bins and concentration camps, our theories should be able to distinguish between them. Materials recycling facilities (MRFs), factories, and concentration camps have strikingly similar logistics, logics, and material practices that relate to matter, sorting, and spatial distributions. But that doesn’t make recycling genocidal and Nazis environmentally just. We cannot fail to distinguish between them. Because discard studies is inherently normative—making arguments and frameworks for understanding and practicing what is argued to be good and right—it is crucial to differentiate between theories of power that, in turn, differentiate between the separation of recyclables in blue bins and eradication practices in concentration camps. These are the stakes of careful thinking about matter out of place.

not the same

The histories of “matter out of place”

“Matter out of place” has led two separate lives. While we in discard studies are well acquainted the phrase from Mary Douglas’ anthropological text on power and religion, Purity and Danger, it had a rich circulation before she borrowed it. In fact, its relative frequency in English-language books between 1860 and 1960 rivals its use after Purity and Danger was published in 1966. I was surprised.

graph showing a spike around 1870-1890, a larger one from 1900-1920, and a third larger one increasing after 1960, peaking at 2000.

Percentage of published texts in Google corpus with the phrase “matter out of place,” by year of publication.

The first peak follows a series of “well-lubricated” public toasts in 1852 by Lord Palmerston (1784-1865) speaking as Foreign Secretary (and later to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom). Richard Fardon writes that Lord Palmerston said,

“‘I have heard a definition of dirt. I have heard it said that dirt is nothing but a thing in a wrong place. Now, the dirt of our towns precisely corresponds with that definition.”5

Fanon further recounts that “The quotation, reported anonymously in The Times, is explicit that Palmerston claimed to have ‘heard’ the definition, but does not tell from whom… Palmerston’s specific suggestion was that imported guano (mined bird and bat droppings) might be substituted as fertilizer by the noxious waste matter produced in Britain’s cities, thereby saving farmers much expenditure, ‘the dirt of our towns ought to be put upon our fields, and if there could be such a reciprocal community of interest between the towns and country – that the country should purify the towns, and the towns should fertilize the country (laughter) – I am disposed to think the British farmer would care less than he does, though he still might care something, about Peruvian guano (Hear, hear, and cheers)”6

After Palmerston’s speeches, the phrase begins to circulate in various printed texts, from science to religion, often with attribution to Palmerston. For instance, Sigmund Freud’s 1908 essay on ‘Character and anal erotism’ uses the phrase (‘Dirt is matter in the wrong place’7), as does a 1878 text on The Chemistry of Dirt that declares, “The popular mind has been long familiar with the aphorism ‘that dirt is matter out of place'” before arguing that, “Very strong flavoured dirt fills and saturates the atmosphere of many loathsome manufacturers without disgusting the work people who are used to it.”8


London Board of Health searching the city for cholera during the 1832 epidemic. Lithograph, 1832. Wellcome Library no. 1998i.

As Douglas’ biographer, Richard Fardon writes that Douglas first used the phrase in her field notes from her second trip to study the Lele people in the Belgian Congo in 1953. In those notes she writes: “Asked to define dirt in England—Not earth, just simply [dirt]. Contrast: idea of dirt, with ‘good clean mud’ etc. Chesterfield ‘Dirt is any matter displaced’ e.g. hair, crowning glory etc. and hair in the soup. But child putting spoon it has licked back in the veg. tureen and told off for being ‘dirty’. ‘Dirty’ is much wider range than just ‘dirt’. Any bodily excreta, saliva, vomit, faeces, and anything that has contact with them is dirty. Food is wholesome when served, but as soon as someone has eaten a little, and left it, it is ‘orts’, remains, dirty.”9

The phrase was already well circulated at that point, and close to home:

“Alan Macfarlane can be confident Mary Douglas did not find the full quotation from one convenient source. When he was studying for his MPhil at the LSE in 1968, Mary Douglas used to hold small discussion groups at her Highgate home near Hampstead Heath. Feeling very honoured to be invited to one, he arrived by way of the Heath – where he was surprised to find that the sides of rubbish bins had been labelled, ‘Dirt is Matter Out of Place’. Mentioning this in all innocence to Mary, she misconstrued his suggestion as an accusation that she had stolen the quotation from the side of a rubbish bin. Somewhat mortified, the memory stayed with him.”10

Yet whether the phrase circulated in the 1800s or later in the 1900s and beyond, popularized by Douglas or by Lord Palmerston, the term has multiple, even contradictory, meanings that fall into consistent categories. While there are certainly more than three genres of the way dirt and matter out of place are used, and they regularly overlap, here I differentiate between three meanings in terms of their interrelated spatial, material, and social power emphases. 

Matter out of place is about power

Purity and Danger is about power, first and foremost. In this context, “[Dirt] implies two conditions: a set of ordered relations and a contravention of that order. Dirt then, is never a unique, isolated event. Where there is dirt there is system. Dirt is the by-product of a systematic ordering and classification of matter, in so far as ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements.”11 To think of this another way, where there is a system of power, there are necessarily rejected elements (or dirt), and one way to investigate systems is by studying what they reject, abject, and oppress. 


An African-American youth at a segregated drinking fountain in Halifax, North Carolina, in 1938. Photo: Public Domain.

The key part of this quote is the bit about how “ordering involves rejecting inappropriate elements.” This doesn’t mean moving shoes off the kitchen table. Douglas’ examples of rejection include drowning deformed babies and wringing the necks of roosters. The commitment to killing instances that “confuse or contradict cherished classifications” is mirrored in today’s racialized patterns of police brutality and the varied violent treatment of refugees at national borders. Rejecting migrants into the US does not mean turning them away at the border, but actions that result in their deaths and criminalizing actions meant to mitigate these deaths.12 In the rejection of “inappropriate” elements in the case of Eric Garner meant police choking a man to death for selling cigarettes while Black. Hugh Raffles’ recalls that this is not a new phenomenon:

“It was at this time [in 1920s Germany]  that the new discourses of hygiene (which brought together eugenics, social Darwinism, political geography, bacteriology, parasitology, and entomology), new technologies of quarantine and delousing, and the development of bureaucratic institutions initially dedicated to the eradication of disease shifted with little friction to the eradication of people. The elimination of disease purified both race and society—by the mid-1930s, one and the same—and, increasingly, the human victims of disease were seen as indistinguishable from its nonhuman carriers: rats, lice, and other invasive and parasitic ‘vermin.’”13

Rather than acts of exclusion associated with cleaning up, purity is about the eradication of dirt. At different points in history and certain places, Indigenous peoples, Blacks, Jews, women, migrants, LGBTQ2S+ people, people with disabilities, and political prisoners are killable, not merely disposable.14

In this context, social ordering means ordering the world, and dangers to that order– threats to power–are to be eradicated, not merely sorted. Douglas writes that “pollution is a particular class of danger” to “sources of power”15 and that “The danger which is risked by boundary transgression is power.”16 This is why, writes Douglas, that “though we seek to create order, we do not simply condemn disorder. We recognise that it is destructive to existing patterns; also that it has potentiality. It symbolises both danger and power” 17 in its ability to overthrow existing power centres. Shoes on the kitchen table aren’t that. Indigenous people that continue to thrive and make claims on the Land occupied by the state are threats to established power. That’s an important difference.

Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 7.27.54 PM.png

Screenshot of media coverage of residence against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock from Mother Jones.

In the theory of dirt as social ordering against disruptions to power, Douglas and Foucault meet. Foucault’s arguments in Birth of the Clinic18 and elsewhere about how power is not simply repressive, but productive and exercised via the social body at the most microlevels of social relations align well with Douglas’ theories on a subset of techniques of maintaining power in terms of taboo and purity rituals and behaviours. Both look at the everyday techniques that produce and protect what seems normal, natural, right, good, and true.

restroom-99226_1280Think about the types of violence leveraged towards trans and gender non-binary people, both at the everyday level (where strangers demand to know someone’s gender) and in news-worthy events (where trans people, particularly trans people of colour, are murdered), and then read Douglas: “In these cases the articulate, conscious points in the social structure are armed with articulate, conscious powers to protect the system; the inarticulate, unstructured areas emanate unconscious powers which provoke others to demand that ambiguity be reduced.”19 Now think of the popular arguments about why trans people can’t use gender-marked bathrooms (“because they’re dangerous to other bathroom users!”), and read Douglas: “Attributing danger is one way of putting a subject above dispute. It also helps to enforce conformity, as we shall show below in a chapter on morals.” 20 This is matter out of place, a threat: dirt. The making of “Purity is the enemy of change,  or ambiguity and compromise.”21 Some of us  know that in our bones and are worried that purity is coming for us.

Materialism as power

Douglas consistently makes the case that all cleaning or avoidance practices that appear to deal exclusively with the material realm are, in fact, cultural and moral: “When we honestly reflect on our busy scrubbings and cleanings in this light we know that we are not mainly trying to avoid disease. We are separating, placing boundaries, making visible statements about the home that we are intending to create out of the material house.”22 In Risk and Blame, she even goes so far as to say that pollution and contagion are “used in two senses. There is a strict technical sense, as when we speak of river or air pollution, when the physical adulteration of an earlier state can be precisely measured. […] The technical sense of pollution is not morally loaded but depends upon measures of change. The other sense of pollution is a contagious state, harmful, caused by outside intervention, but mysterious in its origins. […] Usually, the dangerous impurity is attributed to moral transgression of one kind or another: it is presented as a penalty, plagues or famines descending to punish perjury, incest, adultery, or breach of ritual.”23

NL_beach plastic.jpg

Plastics on a shoreline in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Photo by the author. CC BY-ND.

Here is the tension: she says that all acts that seem to be material (like scrubbing the floor) are in fact cultural, except when they are “strictly technical” (like measuring pollution in a river). But technical acts are material acts, which means they are in fact, cultural (this is a core point in the field called science and technology studies or STS). Douglas has the same struggle that many of us in discard studies and other disciplines also face– how to reconcile two worldviews–scientific and medical on one hand, and cultural and social on the other– that are enacted side by side and simultaneously, but claim not to cross over?24

For example, technical senses of environmental pollution such as air or river pollution include not only moral overtones (“it’s wrong to dump pollution in nature” or inversely “pollution is only wrong if it falls outside of regulation levels”), but also allow power centers to maintain themselves.  As I have written elsewhere with Manuel Tironi and Nerea Calvillo:

“toxicity is produced by and reproductive of different orders of life. [W]e articulate harm as that which disrupts order and existing relations, while also showing that toxic harm also maintains systems, including those that produce inequity and sacrifice… More than just the contravention of an established order within a system, toxic harm can be understood as the contravention of order at one scale and the reproduction of order at another. [For example, c]hronic low levels of arsenic in water interrupt the reproduction of fish, but maintain the ability of mining companies to store mining tailings in open air mounds.”25

The measures of change in river pollution that Douglas talks about as strictly technical are through a particular (and narrow) form of knowledge production called Western science, and those technical measures are used by the state to allow regulated quantities of industrial pollution to occur, that allow industrial access to Indigenous land, and that safeguard industry’s right to pollute.  Thus, scientifically measured pollution may not be dirt–it is usually dirt’s opposite, keeping social relations in order! But when grassroots, Indigenous, and environmental groups start using that science to contest that order, we likely have a case of dirt, especially if the state seeks to contain it. That is, things that appear merely technical, procedural, or material may be either dirt or anti-dirt, depending on their relations to existing power structures. Rather than saying “where there is dirt, there is system,” the way Douglas does, we can think that “where there is system, there is dirt,” that which threatens the system. These threats must be eliminated–not merely sorted!

Un-dirting pollution and waste

Barkan and Pulido write about a process we might call un-dirting, keeping power in place, through the way the state organizes environmental (material!) claims:

“justice appears as a problem concerning the ways in which broad social struggles are rewritten, often by state and legal institutions, as ‘things’ with protocols and procedures designed to respond to – and often limit – social claims. What is so vexing is the tendency for these institutionalized approaches to not only miss their mark but also to enable, rather than constrain, the unjust actions that initiated the struggles in the first place.”26

The way materials are known (including through scientific measurement), the way that knowledge may and may not circulate and make sense, and the way materials impact social lives can all be readily (though never automatically!) brought into discussions of the maintenance and disruption power, but so often I see pollution or waste designated as dirt in passing, when in all likelihood it is operating as anti-dirt. This is not an invitation to “medical materialism,” where complex relations between materials and social orders are flattened through causality or logic, or an ode to new materialisms where objects have their own source of agency and power. It is, as many discard studies scholars have noted, a call to carefully consider how environmental pollution and other forms of uneven material distribution are not an accidental by-product of capitalism, colonialism, and other power structures, but central to maintaining them as the systems that they are: the creators of anti-dirt.27

Spatial organization as power

Like scientific knowledge, space is not an inert or value-free static plain upon which events unfold and materials hang out closer together or farther apart, higher or lower than one another. Rather, space is a social product constructed through politics and power relations that allow some spatial configurations to make sense, to be more or less likely to occur, to undergird action and thought. This is a mainstay of cultural geography.28

Photo by the author. CC BY-ND.

In discard studies, a prime example of bringing together dirt and space is litter. By definition, litter is not where it belongs from a spatial perspective. It sits at the edge of the road, the schoolyard, or a shoreline when it should be contained in a bin, a landfill, or a recycling center. But that doesn’t make litter dirt. Litter has generally not challenged systems of power, or confused or contradicted cherished classifications that matter. Well, except once upon a time, when disposable cans and bottles were first being produced and they began appearing in ditches and cow’s stomachs, the public concern was enough to threaten the new order of industrial production. The hallmark response was Keep America Beautiful, which appropriated Native American imagery to fuel and anti-litter campaign. In Seeing Green, environmental historian Finis Dunaway writes that,

“Keep America Beautiful, composed of leading beverage and packaging corporations and staunchly opposed to many environmental initiatives, sought to interiorize the environmentalist critique of progress, to make individual viewers feel guilty and responsible for the degraded environment. Deflecting the question of responsibility away from corporations and placing it entirely in the realm of individual action, the commercial castigated spectators for their environmental sins but concealed the role of industry in polluting the landscape. … David F. Beard, a KAB leader and the director of advertising for Reynolds Metals Company, [wrote:] “The bad habits of littering can be changed only by making all citizens aware of their responsibilities to keep our public places as clean as they do their own homes.”29

Here, the spatial order of the home is evoked and expanded to public areas, and the scale of responsibility is shrunk from industrial actors to individual people.30 Reframing disposables that “leak” out of waste infrastructure as litter produces space in terms questions about where to put disposables, where disposables are and are not allowed, and how to keep flows moving through space in the “right” direction (even if “leaks” are guaranteed), and also creates organizations of space through infrastructure such as bins, landfills, and sanitation trucks. These spatial arrangements, which have been moralized by campaigns such as Keep America Beautiful, allows production of disposables to continue because the problem has been recast as litter rather than the production of disposables. Litter is now deeply “in place” based on this social order–it maintains systems of power rather that disrupts them.

In the case of litter, wayward disposables were potentially dirt for a moment, and then made anti-dirt as litter. And it can become dirt again: New York City’s styrofoam ban was overturned by plastics industry associations (and then reinstated) as a potential threat to power. There are other events, such as GAIA’s brand audits that recount the brand names of plastic waste in majority countries and China’s National Sword policy that are potential dirt in their interruption of recycling flows and moral narratives about them. Rather than recyclables going “away” these events, we can see exactly where they end up, exceeding classifications and flows that maintain dominant waste economies (what Zuza Gilles calls waste regimes).[enf_note]Gille, Zsuzsa. (2010). Actor networks, modes of production, and waste regimes: reassembling the macro-social. Environment and Planning A42(5), 1049-1064.[/efn_note]

Dirt is an academic urban legend

In “Academic urban legends,” Rekdal writes that, “Many of the messages presented in respectable scientific publications are, in fact, based on various forms of rumors. Some of these rumors appear so frequently, and in such complex, colorful, and entertaining ways that we can think of them as academic urban legends.”31 His main case study is the truism that spinach is an extraordinarily rich source of iron– a “fact” that originated in the 1930s when “a malpositioned decimal point gave a 10-fold overestimate of iron content.”32 Rekdal writes about how so often we academics “simply end up, in a more or less honest way, passing on what I have read”33 resulting in “authors who independently of each other manage to commit the same set of errors,”34 definitions, or interpretations. The problem is that “a single (and highly erroneous, as in this case) interpretation will appear as two or more mutually independent statements, reinforcing the reliability or truth value of each other.”35 The rumour gets truthy. This is what, I argue, has happened with dirt as matter out of place.

Reclaiming dirt

The goal of reopening and interrogating what seems to be the well-worn truism that dirt is “matter out of place” is to invite and compel discard studies scholars to take time with dirt as an analytical trope about power, first and foremost, with materiality, space, and morality playing roles within power structures–sometimes to shore them up, and sometimes to challenge them. The price of a charismatic truism like “matter out of place” is that it also is emptied of its nuance as it circulates. By calling litter or plastics or arsenic “matter out of place” and moving on, we scholars can (and often do!) inadvertently reinscribe the very power relations we are arguing against. This matters because it is crucial to differentiate between theories of power and action, especially when so many of the scholars in discard studies are invested in doing what is right and good from an environmental and/or social justice perspective. If “waste and wasting practices are about allowing centers to remain dominant in what, how, and where they discard, discard studies is dedicated to de-centering those systems to see how they become powerful to begin with,” then theories of power have to be taken seriously, carefully, and intentionally.


Dr. Max Liboiron is Managing Editor of Discard Studies and Assistant Professor in Geography at Memorial University. Dr. Liboiron is completing a manuscript about the relationship between environmental pollution and colonial relations to land called Pollution is Colonialism.


  1. These metrics tell different stories: the Google Scholar list includes all uses of the phrase “matter out of place,” roughly half of which pre-date Douglas, which we’ll touch on in a moment. The Scopus data is about citations in general and not the use of “matter out of place” in particular. We use both imperfect metrics to show the prevalence and range of how the concept that waste is “matter out of place” circulates– how this idea is foundational and disciplinarily agnostic.
  2. Douglas, Mary. (2003). Purity and danger: An analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. Routledge: 160.
  3. Fardon, Richard. (1999). Mary Douglas: an intellectual biography, London: Routledge: 4.
  4. For example, see Grace Akese’s work on how well-intentioned environmental narratives about e-waste in Agbogbloshie miss ongoing land tenure tensions and are leveraged for often violent state efforts to evict residents and demolish housing in the area. Akese, Grace A., and Peter C. Little. (2018). “Electronic Waste and the Environmental Justice Challenge in Agbogbloshie.” Environmental Justice 11,(2): 77-83; Lepawsky, Josh and Grace Akese. (2015). “Sweeping Away Agbogbloshie. Again.” Discard Studies.
  5. Anon. (1852). The Royal Agricultural Society. The Times 21169, 16 July: 8.
  6. Anon. (1852). The British Farmer’s Magazine XXII: 137. Fardon, Richard. (2013). Citations out of place: or, Lord Palmerston goes viral in the nineteenth century but gets lost in the twentieth. Anthropology Today, 29(1): 25.
  7. Freud, Sigmund. (1997 [1908]). Character and anal erotism. In Richard, A. (ed.) On Sexuality Vol. 7. Harmondsworth, Penguin: 213
  8. Bartlett, H. C. (1878). “The Chemistry of Dirt” British architect 10(16): 152. For more examples, you can use N-gram to backtrace texts. Famous examples are covered in Fardon, R. (2013). Citations out of place: or, Lord Palmerston goes viral in the nineteenth century but gets lost in the twentieth. Anthropology Today, 29(1): 25.
  9. Fardon, Richard. (2010). ‘Margaret Mary Douglas 1921–2007.’ Proceedings from the British Academy 166: 154. Also in: Campkin, B. (2013). Placing “matter out of place”: Purity and danger as evidence for architecture and urbanism. Architectural Theory Review, 18(1), 46-61.
  10. Fardon, Richard. (2013). Citations out of place: or, Lord Palmerston goes viral in the nineteenth century but gets lost in the twentieth. Anthropology Today, 29(1):25.
  11. Douglas (1966): 36.
  12. Metalon, Lorne. (2019). “Extending ‘Zero Tolerance’ To People Who Help Migrants Along The Border” All Things Considered, NPR.
    Fernandez, Manny. (2017). “A Path to America, Marked by More and More Bodies.” The New York Times, May 4.
    BBC News. “US border: Sixth death of migrant child in custody.” US & Canada BBC News. May 23.
  13. Raffles, Hugh. (2017). Against Purity. Social Research: An International Quarterly84(1), 171-182.
  14. Butler, Judith. (2006). Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence. Verso.
    Feldman, Allen. (2002). Strange fruit: The South African Truth Commission and the demonic economies of violence. Social Analysis46(3), 234-265.
  15. Douglas (1966): 98-99.
  16. Douglas (1966): 199, emphasis added.
  17. Douglas (1966): 117.
  18. Foucault, Michele. (2002). The birth of the clinic. Routledge.
  19. Douglas (1966): 199.
  20. Douglas (1966): 40.
  21. Douglas (1966): 200.
  22. Douglas (1966): 85.
  23. Douglas, Mary. (2013). Risk and blame. Routledge: 36.
  24. In STS ee, for example: Latour, Bruno. (2012). We have never been modern. Harvard university press. Mitchell, Don. (1995). There’s no such thing as culture: towards a reconceptualization of the idea of culture in geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 102-116.
  25. Liboiron, Max, Manuel Tironi, and Nerea Calvillo. 2018. “Toxic Politics: Acting in a Permanently Polluted World.” Social Studies of Science 48 (3): 333,335. Emphasis in original.
  26. Barkan, Joshua, & Pulido, Laura. (2017). Justice: An epistolary essay. Annals of the American Association of Geographers107(1), 36.
  27. Ofrias, Lindsay. (2017). Invisible harms, invisible profits: A theory of the incentive to contaminate. Culture, Theory and Critique58(4), 435-456.
    Liboiron, Max, Tironi, Manuel, & Calvillo, Nerea. (2018). Toxic politics: Acting in a permanently polluted world. Social studies of science48(3), 331-349.
    Murphy, Michelle. (2017). The economization of life. Duke University Press.
    Fiske, Amelia. (2018). Dirty hands: The toxic politics of denunciation. Social studies of science48(3), 389-413.
    Boudia Soraya and Nathalie Jas. (2014). Powerless Science? Science and Politics in a Toxic World, Vol. 2. New York: Berghahn Books.
  28. Massey, Doreen. (2013). Space, place and gender. John Wiley & Sons. Lefebvre, Henri, & Nicholson-Smith, Donald. (1991). The production of space (Vol. 142). Blackwell: Oxford.
    For more on space and dirt, see: Campkin, Ben. (2013). Placing “matter out of place”: Purity and danger as evidence for architecture and urbanism. Architectural Theory Review, 18(1), 46-61.
  29. Dunaway, Finis. (2015). Seeing green: the use and abuse of American environmental images. University of Chicago Press: 81.
    Also see Plumer, Bradford. (2006). ‘The origins of anti-litter campaigns’, Mother Jones, 22 May.; Rogers, Heather. (2007). ‘Garbage Capitalism’s green commerce’, Socialist Register (43); CEO. (2018). ‘Packaging lobby’s support for anti-litter groups deflects tougher solutions’, 28 March.
  30. That’s called scale jumping, and it’s a technique of power. See: Cohen, Ed. (2011). The paradoxical politics of viral containment; or, how scale undoes us one and all. Social Text29(1 (106)), 15-35. Smith, Neil. (1992). Contours of a spatialized politics: Homeless vehicles and the production of geographical scale. Social text, (33), 55-81
  31. Rekdal, Ole Bjørn (2014). Academic urban legends. Social Studies of Science, 44(4), 638.
  32. In Rekdal 2014: 639
  33. In Rekdal 2014: 643
  34. In Rekdal 2014: 647
  35. In Rekdal 2014: 647