Category Archives: Value

Sorting It Out: Sustainability in Higher Education

by Kathy Zhang In May of 2021, I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a combined degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Art. I joined sustainability efforts on campus as a second-year student, at first emphasizing trash, compost, and recycling. I felt especially passionate about my recycling initiatives at the housing […]
Read More »

Adam Minter: In the flow of things

Discard Studies interviews writer Adam Minter, author of ‘Junkyard Planet’ and journalist for Bloomberg about his next book, ‘Secondhand’

Trading on Obsolescence on the Streets of Hong Kong

The leveraging of the temporal lag between the developed and the developing world by these local street vendors enables them to generate additional value from the discarded. Second-hand goods becomes the means to access the consumer society that is characteristic of global cities.

The Value of Time and the Temporality of Value in Socialities of Waste

Drawing from long-term ethnographic research on a 25-year-old medical aid program linking the U.S. and Madagascar, I use this brief essay to trace how Malagasy and American participants engender different orientations to time through their work with discards, as they transform both discards’ value and the social relations surrounding them.

Emergent Socialities of Waste

As the excesses, effluents, and excreta of larger social spheres are discarded, discounted, and possibly denigrated, what happens at those margins where they recirculate? What fissures in prevailing circulatory structures might we uncover, and how do people appropriate the myriad of social and material utility that persists therein? We explore the ways in which the materialities of waste, rubbish, refuse, debris, castoffs, and pollution enable new forms of sociality marked by generative practices of survival, adaptation, and critique.

Special Issue on Discards, Diverse Economies, and Degrowth

Why do new economic imaginaries need to take up waste as a central issue? What do novel, non-capitalist economies mean for concepts and materialities of waste?

Archaeogaming and punk archeology in discard studies

Archaeogaming is as much about exploring and conducting archaeology within gaming environments (virtual space) as it is about understanding the history of video games in the real world (meat space).
What are the frontiers in discard studies that would benefit from punk archeology?

R-RIPARABILE? How should we design for repairability – May 31

There’s an interesting call for projects looking for “the most innovative projects in which repairability plays a significant role in the world.” It is a call for the converse of discard and disposability. From the site: There is a growing demand for longer lasting objects, things that are no longer destined to die the first […]
Read More »

Trash is a Wicked Problem

By Max Liboiron One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Waste is inherently ambivalent. It is both worthless and the basis for a billion dollar, recession-proof industry, complete with cartels and multinational companies. Disgust with filth both reaffirms our identities and troubles us. But a plethora of contradictory terms and values is not what makes […]
Read More »

New Book: Contract & Contagion

*Contract & Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia* Angela Mitropoulos Review from H-net: Contract and Contagion presents a theoretical approach for understanding the complex shifts of post-Fordism and neoliberalism by way of a critical reading of contracts, and through an exploration of the shifting politics of the household. It focuses on the salient question of capitalist futurity in order […]
Read More »