I recently ran across this excellent blog: Discard Studies.

Here’s what they wrote in their “About” section:

The new multidisciplinary field of discard studies considers definitions of, attitudes toward, and behaviors around waste, broadly defined. This blog is meant as an online gathering place for scholars, activists, environmentalists, students, artists, planners, and anyone else whose work touches on themes relevant to the study of discard.Discard practices involve many elements, including these:

  1. social customs
  2. labor arrangements
  3. resource stocks and flows
  4. economic relationships
  5. cultural assumptions
  6. public health controversies
  7. political histories

Attitudes about discards as things and discarding as a practice are informed by deeply held and sometimes contradictory notions of value, worthlessness, disgust, and the boundaries of the self

Discard studies as a field in its own right has rich potential, drawing upon but going beyond approaches to waste undertaken in disciplines of cultural anthropology, economics, sociology, archaeology, history, and environmental studies, to name a few.

A growing number of researchers from all of these disciplines are asking questions about waste, not just as an ecological problem, but as a process, as a category of rejected material goods, as a mentality, as a judgment, as an infrastructural and economic challenge, as a political risk, and as a source of creativity.

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