Waste and Discards in the Asia Pacific Region : Social and Cultural Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Waste and Discards in the Asia Pacific Region
Social and Cultural Perspectives

  • Available for pre-order on June 8, 2023. Item will ship after June 29, 2023
ISBN 9781032366142
June 29, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
216 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This book uncovers, explores and analyses the cultural and social factors and values that lie behind waste making, recycling and disposal in the Asia Pacific region, where impressive economic growth has led to significant increases in production, consumption and concomitant waste production.

This volume demonstrates the immense scope of waste as a multi-sectoral phenomenon, covering discussions on food, menstrual products, sewage, electronics, scrap, nuclear waste, plastics, and even entire villages as they are submerged underwater by dam building, considered expendable in favour of economic growth. It discusses the wide range of approaches and contexts through which people interact with waste, including socio-economic analysis, participatory observation, laboratory science, art, video, installations, literature and photography. Case studies focusing on India, China and Japan, in addition to other regional examples, demonstrate the ubiquity of waste, materially and geographically. It examines the duality of waste management, fostering community building while simultaneously excluding marginalised groups; how it can be linked to efforts creating circular economies, to then reappear in oceanic garbage patches; or technical waste repurposed for high-tech laboratory research before being discarded once again.

This timely and wide-ranging collection of essays will be an important read for scholars, researchers and students in sustainability, development studies, discard studies, and social and cultural history, particularly focusing on countries in the Asia-Pacific.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Contemporary Cultural Perspectives on Discards in the Asia-Pacific Region

Viktor Pál and Iris Borow

2. Caste, Hierarchy and Cultural Construction of Food (Waste?)


3. Environment by, with, and for the Citizens: Collective Identity Shaping the Community-Driven Solid Waste Management in Kerala, India

Pinar Temocin

4. Polluted Histories, Clean Futures? Differing Scenarios for an Electronic Waste Circular Economy in China

Alicia Ng

5. What Type of Trash are You? Steering "Green" Citizenship and Self-Responsibility in Urban China

Virginie Arantes

6. Becoming Visible: An Examination of Chen Qiulin’s Farewell Poem (2002) and Jia Zhangke’s Still Life (2006)

Rosaline (Yi Yi Mon) Kyo

7. Individually and Collectively Grieving the Fukushima Dead at a Waste-Mountain: A Reading of Post-3/11 Novel ‘Hikari no Yama [Mountain of Light]’ by Japanese Monk-Writer Genyu Sokyu

Keitaro Morita

8. Defining Food (and its Waste)

Betsy Price and Paige Lalonde

9. Waste Through Different Eyes: Multi-Sited Photovoice Explorations

Michael Chew

10. Afterword: Planetary Potlatch: Scrutinizing the Moral Economy of Recycling

Peter Wynn Kirby

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Viktor Pál is a Hungarian environmental historian, an Associate Professor at the University of Tampere, Finland, and the University of Ostrava, Czechia, and a visiting researcher at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of the book Technology and the Environment in State-Socialist Hungary: An Economic History (2017), and with Stephen Brain has co-edited the collection of essays, Environmentalism under Authoritarian Regimes. Myth, Propaganda, Reality (2019).

Iris Borowy is a Distinguished Professor at Shanghai University, China. She is also a founding director of the Center for the History of Global Development at that university. Her publications include Defining Sustainable Development for Our Common Future: A History of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission), published in 2014.