Special Issue "Waste, Garbage and Filth: Social and Cultural Perspectives on Recycling"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2010)
This issue is expressly devoted to social and cultural issues on recycling. Since the early 1960s, “Sustainable development” emerged as a critical issue in most contemporary societies and in the 1990s, global warming turned into global warning when the “greenhouse effect” turned out to be the cause of the rapid and worldwide ecological changes. In the 19th century, industrial societies were confident in the idea of Progress and the correlated massive productivity. One century later, waste management has become one of the major economic, social and scientific issues worldwide. Social sciences have nevertheless only recently embarked on the wagon of “recycling” studies. But they can unearth highly relevant information regarding the nature (properties) of “Waste”, the culturally-embedded meanings associated to it (such as Mary Douglas’ “pure”-“impure” dichotomy), and the observable social uses surrounding “Garbage”. An anthropological focus on such issues might either concern qualitative and ethnographic localized perspectives (on the individuals’ level), or a more quantitative, comparative and transcultural standpoint. In any case, as Mikael Drackner has cleverly maintained, emphasis is put on a twofold question “What is waste? To whom?” (Drackner, 2005), to which one can add three others “Where? When? And Why?”. And further, how do societies cope with what they call “rubbish”.
Prof. Dr. Lionel Obadia
- cultural meanings
- collective representations
- social behaviors