Category Archives: Labor

A moral politics of blame

Modern municipal waste disposal is not limited to removal of garbage, but often involves a strategic churning out of unwanted people, and extreme events such as dump fires reflect the social precariousness of marginalised communities like those of waste-pickers.

Waste and Recycling in Cold War Eastern Europe

This short study analyzes the professional and political discussions of post-industrial and post-consumer waste, discards and recycling in state-socialist Hungary and connects these discourses with the changing cultures of waste, discards, and recycling around the globe.

Firsting in Research

Firsting in research, then, is not about being first to a place, first to know something, first to discover something. It is a proclamation of power to make property in someone’s home, to put your own name on otherwise shared or common knowledge. It’s a proclamation of the privilege to not see others, cite others, or acknowledge others.

COVID-19 measures and industrial workplaces

The obsession that media has had with small businesses has hidden the most aggressive public health measures are missing the biggest driver of the pandemic: large industrial workplaces.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 waste management policy should include the informal sector

Though Nigeria approved a national solid waste management policy earlier this year, it does not provide a plan to include the large informal sector. An inclusive policy is one recognising and involving informal waste workers in solid waste management while also yielding improvements in their lives and waste management performance.

Discard Studies Solidarity Strike

The field of discard studies is united by a critical framework that questions premises of what seems normal or given, what is valued and not valued, and the processes of devaluation and normalization. This includes the devaluation of workers and their labour. Discard studies is also a normative field, working to make systems of discard […]
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Myths of the Circular Economy

Discard studies spoke with three leading waste researchers about the biggest myths of the circular economy.

Placing discard studies in Australia

Australian discard studies scholars Catherine Phillips, David Boarder Giles, and Gay Hawkins discuss intellectual traditions, settler colonialism, and the future of the field.

No insides on the outsides

“The main goal and mission of a content moderator is to clean up the dirt.” — unnamed content moderator in The Cleaners (00:06:20). All systems must rid themselves of things. If they don’t discard, those systems face existential threats to their continuation. This is a fundamental insight of anthropologist Mary Douglas’s work and a core […]
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Not all marine fish eat plastics

The Gulf Stream, which curves along the southern shore of Newfoundland, is saturated with plastics. Fish that feed from the surface waters, where plastics tend to accumulate, are in an ideal position to ingest plastics. But what about the bigger fish that eat these fish, especially when we eat those predators? In 2016, our laboratory […]
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