Development of Waste – Development as Waste

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Non-organic waste as a major challenge emerged in the twentieth century. Never before has there been an age which placed even remotely as much waste into the world. This growth has been closely correlated to factors commonly understood as 'development': rising incomes, population growth, urbanisation, long-distance purchasing methods, and it aligns closely with the Human Development Index. Waste can be a form of violence, as when politically and economically vulnerable people are knowingly subjected to toxic waste. But other times, the ability to be able to discard or replace instead of repair can be experienced as a positive effect of moving out of poverty. This special collection addresses waste as a manifestation and component of global development by discussing various case studies from different parts of the world at different times. Though local specificities differ substantially, collectively, all these papers show the evolving constructions of waste as a function of societal and socio-economic changes. These processes call into question central tenets of today’s world such as ‘development’ or ‘modernity’. By being an expression of how societies deal with the unwanted, waste serves as a prism that reveals the variety of shapes development can take.

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