Working on Progress

Unauthorized Recyclers Keep Out Discussions on the fate of discarded electrical and electronic devices (DEEDs, or “e-waste”) and the configuration of the recycling sector in the Global South are riddled with the adjectives “formal” and “informal.” Scientists, engineers, corporate representatives, government officials, environmental activists and journalists make this distinction to categorize economic actors, often in ways […]

Garbage, Waste-Products, and Value in Kunming

Since 2009, news outlets across China have repeated the mantra that “two-thirds of China’s cities face besiegement by garbage”—constituting a national crisis. Included is Kunming, the burgeoning capital of Yunnan Province. Yet, in addition to its propensity to “besiege”, proliferating waste matter has also generated economic opportunities for approximately 24 thousand rural migrants who make their living […]