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Wolfgang Krohn

This article presents a long-term study of German waste management policies and technologies as they developed during the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar "waste avalanche" called for quick and crude political decisions. Unexpected environmental side effects prompted new governance and leads through six different stages of policies based on scientific models and advanced technologies—all of them controversial. The case exemplifies a typical condition of a knowledge society. Politics demands a reliable knowledge base for rational decision making. Science, however, supplies open-ended research and increases uncertainties. Turning the dilemma into an operational perspective, I suggest speaking of processes of real-world experimentation with waste. The transformation of waste from something to be ignored and disregarded into an epistemic object of concern is bound to experimenting with existing and newly designed waste sites as well as with socio-technical management systems. The study focuses on the development in Germany. Its general features, however, are characteristic for comparable industrial societies.

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Dolly Jørgensen

This article challenges the common presentation of the medieval street as a mud- and muck-filled cesspit. Using the television episode “Medieval London” of the Filthy Cities series aired by BBC Two in 2011 as a springboard, I discuss the realities of medieval waste management and modern conceptions of it. Through an examination of historical records from London, I show that the early fourteenth-century medieval street was not nearly as filthy as portrayed in Filthy Cities. Rather than being based on medieval evidence, our notion of the dirty medieval city is built on modern ideas of civility and scientific progress. Interpretations like that in Filthy Cities reflect more on our modern condition than the medieval one. The constructed dichotomy of medieval filth versus modern cleanliness obscures our contemporary waste problems and reinforces a physical and mental distance from our own waste.

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COVID-19 as method

Managing the ubiquity of waste and waste-collectors in India

Tridibesh Dey

– though unevenly. Binding crises of the past (like the 1842 Great Fire of Hamburg, the 1858 Great Stink in London and the 1896 Bombay plague) have led to ubiquitous reforms in sanitation and waste management practices, most notably landmark innovations in

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Discarded Europe

Money, Trash and the Possibilities of a New Temporality

Elana Resnick

How are time and materiality felt in periods of expectation, when change is awaited but never comes, at least not in the way anticipated? Disappointment may set in, but in the expanding European context in which I conducted research, something else occurs: sensory experiences of time and materiality intermingle and shape each other. These experiences of temporal-material relations, in a context of historical disorientation, are the basis of a new European temporality. My ethnographic research on waste management in Bulgaria, conducted between 2010 and 2013, with informal garbage collectors, city street sweepers, waste company officials, Sofia citizens, municipal representatives and ministry employees, provides the empirical foundation for this piece.

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Facing a Toxic Object

Nuclear Waste Management and its Challenges for Nature-Culture-Relationships

Christiane Schürkmann

, between nature and culture, this contribution aims to discuss HLW in the context of nuclear waste management policy as a critical toxic object — an object with an activity identified and problematized as toxic and with the potential to challenge human

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Experiments in Excreta to Energy

Sustainability Science and Bio-Necro Collaboration in Urban Ghana

Brenda Chalfin

-toilets’, vacant lots and the cover of darkness to relieve themselves. Others, indeed most, relied on what the city's waste management authorities called ‘private commercial toilets’ (PCT). Each attached to their own makeshift septic system, these are private pay

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Introduction

Posthuman? Nature and Culture in Renegotiation

Kornelia Engert and Christiane Schürkmann

entanglements. With a special regard to approaches that emphasize material agency, and based on document analysis, Christiane Schürkmann focuses on nuclear waste management policy in Germany as an example of how modern societies are challenged by a toxic

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Erin R. Eldridge

waste” in an attempt to avoid stigmatizing the ash recycling industry. The new industry-preferred option, Subtitle D, gives the EPA the authority to set waste management standards, but enforcement would be provided by states and through citizen suits

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Introduction

Legal regimes under pandemic conditions: A comparative anthropology

Geoffrey Hughes

-existing initiative to remake the country's waste management infrastructure has been rebranded as a pandemic response. Dey argues that Modi's lockdown has exacerbated pre-existing disparities of class and caste, increasingly forcing workers in the country's sprawling

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Plastic Packaging, Food Supply, and Everyday Life

Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research

Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski, and Katharina Reindl

professionals in the food system. Hence, these problems cannot be solved solely technically by improved waste management or recycling technologies, as potential transformations must be linked to wider practices of food supply. From such a perspective, the use of