Waste is a key category for understanding cultural value. It is not just the 'bad stuff' we dispose of; it is material we constantly struggle to redeem. Cultures seem to spend as much energy reclassifying negativity as they do on establishing the negative itself. The huge tertiary sector devoted to waste management converts garbage into money, while ecological movements continue to stress human values and 'the natural.' But the problems waste poses are never simply economic or environmental. The international contributors to this collection ask us to pause and consider the complex ways in which value is created and destroyed. Their diverse approaches of ethics, philosophy, cultural studies, and politics are at the forefront of a new field of 'ecohumanites.'
Gay Hawkins is a senior lecturer in the School of Media and Communications, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Stephen Muecke is professor of cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Cultural Economies of Waste Chapter 2 Out of Australia Chapter 3 Miasma Chapter 4 Invidious Distinction: Waste Difference and Classy Stuff Chapter 5 Down the Drain: Shit and the Politics of Disturbance Chapter 6 Decolonising the Discourse of Environmental Knowledge in Settler Societies Chapter 7 Psychic Waste: Freud, Fechner and the Principle of Constancy Chapter 8 Hollywood's Pacific Junk: The Wreckage of Colonial History in Six Days and Seven Nights and Rapa Nui Chapter 9 Trash as Archive, Trash as Enlightenment Chapter 10 Devastation