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Waste in Overflow

Åkesson, Lynn LU (2012) In Managing Overflow in Affluent Societies p.141-154
Abstract
Why is waste such an important topic for understanding the management of overflow? First, because waste is a classic symbol of overflow: to be flooded with too much stuff that demands handling, sorting, and decision-making is a feeling well known in consumer society. Facts and figures speak of the same overflow. Waste disposal is a growing problem. The downside of consumption is a growing mountain of waste. Increased consumption leads to an increase in the amount of trash. Between the years 2000 and 2006, the amount of packaging in Sweden, for example, increased by almost 150,000 tons to a total of just over 1 million tons.



Second, waste management is a significant cultural phenomenon, but ideas and categorizations of... (More)
Why is waste such an important topic for understanding the management of overflow? First, because waste is a classic symbol of overflow: to be flooded with too much stuff that demands handling, sorting, and decision-making is a feeling well known in consumer society. Facts and figures speak of the same overflow. Waste disposal is a growing problem. The downside of consumption is a growing mountain of waste. Increased consumption leads to an increase in the amount of trash. Between the years 2000 and 2006, the amount of packaging in Sweden, for example, increased by almost 150,000 tons to a total of just over 1 million tons.



Second, waste management is a significant cultural phenomenon, but ideas and categorizations of what is considered to be waste depend on whether one is speaking of cultural, social, or historical settings. Waste management is about transformations, mutations, and cultural processes that call for a processual approach, examining the trajectories and life cycles of objects. One can follow the movements back and forth as material turns into waste and are recycled in one form or another in ongoing chains of transformations.



The central theme of this chapter is an analysis of the tensions among various aspects of waste. By linking tensions in waste management to reasons of overflow as a moral dilemma, waste becomes intertwined with consumption and social identity. Waste is simultaneously public and extremely private; it is order and disorder, a practical problem, a moral dilemma, and a highly emotional issue. I explore these tensions through three themes. First, I discuss waste management as an everyday social practice, looking at the efforts undertaken to teach people to handle waste and recycling properly, as well as the routines that people develop and the ways in which these routines can turn into micro-rituals. Second, I examine waste management in relation to the life cycles of commodities. What kinds of trajectories and transformations are developed? Finally, I explore the tensions between private and public in questions of secrecy and openness, and the strong emotions evoked when what was supposed to be hidden becomes visible again. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Waste, consumption, culture, order, recycling, waste separation, overflow
in
Managing Overflow in Affluent Societies
editor
Czarniawska, Barbara and Löfgren, Orvar
pages
141 - 154
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84921539254
ISBN
978-0-415-51997-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4a704def-505f-4dca-914c-236c6a17c85e (old id 2688805)
date added to LUP
2012-06-05 14:08:41
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:43:26
@misc{4a704def-505f-4dca-914c-236c6a17c85e,
  abstract     = {Why is waste such an important topic for understanding the management of overflow? First, because waste is a classic symbol of overflow: to be flooded with too much stuff that demands handling, sorting, and decision-making is a feeling well known in consumer society. Facts and figures speak of the same overflow. Waste disposal is a growing problem. The downside of consumption is a growing mountain of waste. Increased consumption leads to an increase in the amount of trash. Between the years 2000 and 2006, the amount of packaging in Sweden, for example, increased by almost 150,000 tons to a total of just over 1 million tons.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Second, waste management is a significant cultural phenomenon, but ideas and categorizations of what is considered to be waste depend on whether one is speaking of cultural, social, or historical settings. Waste management is about transformations, mutations, and cultural processes that call for a processual approach, examining the trajectories and life cycles of objects. One can follow the movements back and forth as material turns into waste and are recycled in one form or another in ongoing chains of transformations. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The central theme of this chapter is an analysis of the tensions among various aspects of waste. By linking tensions in waste management to reasons of overflow as a moral dilemma, waste becomes intertwined with consumption and social identity. Waste is simultaneously public and extremely private; it is order and disorder, a practical problem, a moral dilemma, and a highly emotional issue. I explore these tensions through three themes. First, I discuss waste management as an everyday social practice, looking at the efforts undertaken to teach people to handle waste and recycling properly, as well as the routines that people develop and the ways in which these routines can turn into micro-rituals. Second, I examine waste management in relation to the life cycles of commodities. What kinds of trajectories and transformations are developed? Finally, I explore the tensions between private and public in questions of secrecy and openness, and the strong emotions evoked when what was supposed to be hidden becomes visible again.},
  author       = {Åkesson, Lynn},
  editor       = {Czarniawska, Barbara and Löfgren, Orvar},
  isbn         = {978-0-415-51997-7},
  keyword      = {Waste,consumption,culture,order,recycling,waste separation,overflow},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {141--154},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x94890d8)},
  series       = {Managing Overflow in Affluent Societies},
  title        = {Waste in Overflow},
  year         = {2012},
}