Douglas’ theory of matter out of place is about power. Something in the wrong spot, something poisonous, is not matter out of place. Unless it threatens power.
What does that mean? As an affront to order, it means we are pollution. It means we must be aggressively ignored, ordered, or erased. We know this. This is part of why so many of us have been grieving since Wednesday.
Refusal is a method whereby researchers and research participants together decide not to make particular information available for use within the academy. Here are some strategies for identifying and collaborating with research refusals.
Toxics: A Symposium on Exposure, Entanglement, and Endurance was heralded as “the most important conversation on body burdens yet.” See the Twitter version of that conversation here.
From the specific case of marine plastics, Liboiron’s paper offers a more general point that those of us who study discards need to remember to take seriously: How we represent the materiality of the discards we study has a crucial influence on the effectiveness of any action proposed to solve or mitigate their generation.
Food Not Bombs and endeavors like it, I would argue, also create the conditions to queer categories of embodiment like race, class, and sex and interrogate their privileged incorporation by prevailing markets, publics, and institutions, cultivating emergent spaces of embodiment, contact, and collaboration across difference.
Article Alert! Place and Defilement Signposts Toward a New Theory of Purity in Sibley’s Geographies of Exclusion
Even if Mary Douglas’ Purity and Danger is the keystone text of Discard Studies, there are few scholars who work to extend, nuance, or contest the theory that dirt is “matter out of place.” A new review by Robbie Duschinsky and Donna Marie Brown in Space and Culture consider the spatial aspects of dirt in relation to David Sibley’s 1995 text Geographies of Exclusion: Society and Difference in the West.
Abjection describes a social and psychological process by which things like garbage, sewage, corpses and rotting food elicit powerful emotional responses like horror and disgust.
The petri dish was made for separation. As part of its ability to make separations between the contaminated world outside and the uncontaminated world inside, the dish also assisted in separating individuals from disease. These days, it’s getting harder for petri dishes to maintain these separations.
“I found that people compare themselves with and against each other regarding values and norms associated with news and responsible citizenship, and that these comparisons have implications for their sense of belonging within civil society. …[D]emonstrations of discontent provide an opportunity for people to enhance their sense of self and see themselves as legitimate members of civil society. They ‘become’ pure.”