This programme aims;

  • To rethink how waste is thought about in social science;
  • To provide a global analysis of waste;
  • To examine how rethinking waste impinges on core social science concerns, notably: economies, researching globalisation, hazards and risk, and materiality.

Social science understandings of waste position waste as the end-point of production and consumption, and see waste as a question of disposal. In this programme we see waste as an ever-present potential; as an intrinsic part of all economic activity. Thinking about waste in this way leads to thinking about economies in terms of materials transformations and flows of materials. Rather than focus on the production (and consumption) of pre-determined commodities, our emphasis is on the materialisation of commodities, ie the processes of their coming together and dissolution in materials. Social science understandings of waste are also typically national-specific. In a world in which global markets in wastes are increasingly apparent and controversial this will no longer suffice.

The programme focuses on global economies in hazardous and non-hazardous wastes and addresses technologies of waste management in different parts of the world, examining the cultural distinctions between practices of burial and burning as forms of materials transformation.

Further information

Project contact: Professor Nicky Gregson, University of Sheffield



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Rethinking governance and value in commodity chains through global recycling networks

Co-author: Mike Crang Date: 01 January 2013 Journal article

Economies of recycling : the global transformation of materials, values and social relations

Editor: Catherine Alexander Date: 09 August 2012 Book

Death, the phoenix and pandora : transforming things and values in Bangladesh

Author: Mike Crang Date: 09 August 2012 Book chapter

Tristes Entropique : steel, ships and time images for late modernity

Author: Mike Crang Date: 04 April 2012 Book chapter

Commentary : negative images of consumption : cast offs and casts of self and society

Author: Michael Crang Date: 01 April 2012 Journal article

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Territorial agglomeration and industrial symbiosis : Sitakunda-Bhatiary, Bangladesh, as a secondary processing complex

Author: Nicky Gregson Date: 01 January 2012 Journal article

Managing the experience of evidence : England’s experimental qaste technologies and their immodest witnesses

Author: Josh Reno Date: 01 January 2012 Journal article

Following things of rubbish value : end-of-life ships, ‘chock-chocky’ furniture and the Bangladeshi middle class consumer

Author: Nicky Gregson Date: 01 November 2011 Journal article

Souvenir salvage and the death of great naval ships

Author: Nicky Gregson Date: 20 September 2011 Journal article

A heart of steel

Author: Julie Mackenzie Date: 01 September 2011 Journal article

Renewing capitalism : financialization and the pursuit of clean energy economies

Author: Josh Reno Date: 04 August 2011 Conference paper/presentation

Micro-action? : anaerobic digesters and the sociality of the lifelike

Author: Josh Reno Date: 04 August 2011 Conference paper/presentation

Motivated markets : instruments and ideologies of clean energy in the United Kingdom

Author: Josh Reno Date: 01 August 2011 Journal article

Beyond risk : landfill emplacement and the production of environmental evidence

Author: Josh Reno Date: 01 August 2011 Journal article

What went wrong with the EU organic wine certification?

Author: Anna Krzywoszynska Date: 21 June 2011 Website

The emerging politics of human genetics

Author: Alex Plows Date: 20 June 2011 Website

Spotlight on… waste : uncovering the global food scandal by Tristram Stuart

Author: Anna Krzywoszynska Date: 01 June 2011 Journal article

Cultural political economy, new materialisms and the world of waste

Organiser: Nicky Gregson Date: 23 May 2011 Organised event

Exhibitions : India recycled

Contributor: Lucy Norris Date: 23 May 2011 Web page

The place of waste in organic wine practice, discourse and principles

Author: Anna Krzywoszynska Date: 23 May 2011 Other output

Food ethics dilemma

Author: Anna Krzywoszynska Date: 23 May 2011 Other output

Student representation at the University of Sheffield : opportunities and challenges

Consultant: Anna Krzywoszynska Date: 23 May 2011 Other

ESRC and Scottish Government internship : legal context of wine production in Scotland and sustainability of Scottish drinks production projects

Consultant: Anna Krzywoszynska Date: 23 May 2011 Other

The waste of the world

Creator: Nicky Gregson Date: 23 May 2011 Website

The life and death of HMS intrepid : a performance event

Creator: Nicky Gregson Date: 23 May 2011 Organised event

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Start date
30 September 2006
End date
29 September 2011
Grant holder
Professor N Gregson
Co-applicants
Professor Daniel Miller
Professor Michael Crang
Professor Ash Amin
Professor Ray Hudson
Professor Catherine Alexander
Professor Peter Jackson
Dr Katherine Norris
Dr Jessica Dubow
Dr Karen Bickerstaff
Grant amount
£2,990,735.05
Grant reference
RES-060-23-0007
Discipline
Human Geography
Grant type