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University of Gothenburg

Re-opening the bin - Waste, economy, culture and society

Online conference June 10-12, 2021. No conference fee will be charged

Call for papers

First announcement for the international conference:
Re-opening the bin - Waste, economy, culture and society
Online Conference June 10-12, 2021

In April 2017 more than 80 scholars from the social sciences and the humanities from all over the world met at Lund University to discuss waste, culture and society during the Opening the bin workshop in Helsingborg. Today, social scientific and humanistic research on waste is growing, yet still needs further encounters as well as a major engagement in the economies, livelihoods, life-styles, consumption patterns, natures, infrastructures and materialities that shape and are shaped by the organizing of waste.

It is time to Re-open the bin. This call is an open invitation to scholars interrogating waste from a myriad of disciplines within social sciences and humanities, such as anthropology, cultural studies, history, development studies, gender studies, geography, household and consumption studies, organization and management, philosophy, public administration or governance, sociology, urban studies, to mention a few. These disciplines come across the many faces and dimensions of waste, such as waste history; green development narratives such as circular economy, zero waste or inclusive recycling; waste prevention; alternative practices of waste management; critical assessments of waste policies and governance; social movements engagement, waste technologies and infrastructure; de-growth, repair and maintenance; working conditions and the types of occupations; skills and industrial relations; creative waste economies; social and grassroots innovations; or sustainable consumption and throwaway cultures.

The conference also aims to bring together experiences from global South and global North communities, as well as practitioners, to critically discuss the places, roles and trajectories as well as the materialities, meanings, practices and vocabularies of waste in culture, economy and society.

Together we would like to continue the dialog between disciplines, geographies and professions to discuss how to prompt new ways to imagine, conceptualize, design and theorize waste as a complex socio-material phenomenon. Small is beautiful and we are aiming at gathering around 70 papers to facilitate interaction and dialog.

Important dates

  • Confirm participation with accepted 2020 abstract: Sept. 30 2020
  • Submission of abstracts, new piece: January 15 2021
  • Acceptance decision: February 15 2021
  • Registration deadline: April 15, 2021
  • Send full paper or work-in-progress to May 11, 2021

Online Conference June 10-12, 2021
No conference fee will be charged

Book the date today and please spread out to your networks! 


Preliminary programme will be announced soon

Hunt your junk! What about a waste safari?

A picture of the bin-man when she collects your waste, videotaping the travel of your empty wine bottle/s after a Friday night, or a selfie when you go hamster diving at your waste container. These are some of the activities that could be part of your waste safari.

 The Swahili word safari means journey. . We are inviting you to engage in a safari to hunt your or other people’s junk.  We are looking forward to travel through your waste safari videos to the distant and diverse places where the many participants of OTB2 come from!

Waste safari is a voluntary activity, and we hope that many of you will participate! It will take place before and during the OTB2 Conference.

First, in a live streaming session before the conference, John Chweya (waste picker and waste communicator) and Marta Ferri (waste researcher) will provide with the guidelines to conduct and organize the waste safari and to produce the videos.

The waste safari videos will be then shared in our OTB2 youtube channel. Then, during the conference in a second session John Chweya will present some of his work in participatory videotaping and waste activism.

A selection of the videos will also be broadcasted and a prize to the best waste safari will be awarded. In the registration form you will find where to sign for this waste safari. More info, soon. Let’s start hunting!

Organizing Committee

Sebastián Carenzo, University of Quilmes
Hervé Corvellec, Lund University
Jutta Gutberlet, University of Victoria
Ulrika Holmberg, University of Gothenburg
Sandra Samuelsson, University of Gothenburg
Allison Stowell, Lancaster University
Patrik Zapata, University of Gothenburg
María José Zapata Campos, University of Gothenburg


Email to the conference committe