The story of waste is one that is continually re-beginning.
Waste is a protean, shape-shifting, thing; in truth it is more of a human relation than it is a specific kind of object, or quality, or material, and this is why it seems to be eternal, always with us, never disappearing but merely being subjected to some kind of control (if it is under control at all).
To look over the course of history at such a phenomenon is to confront a shadow world in which intentions, desires, and the things we value – and those are the qualities that make something an object of history – are turned, in a manner of speaking, inside out and upside down.
And so, it is not waste, as such, that has a history, but rather the human relationship to waste, and to what it is – whatever form it takes – when it comes to our notice, or becomes impossible to escape.
‘Why Garbage Matters: Tracing the City's Dirty Legacy', in Topic 3: 70-77 (2003)
‘Duchamp’s Wager: Disguise, the Play of Surface and Disorder,’ in History of the Human Sciences, Vol. 16: 3 (2003), pp. 1-20
On Garbage (London, 2005), pp. 207pp + 31 ill. [Foreign language eds: Italian (2006), Turkish (2018), Arabic (2017)] Buy: UK & Europe | North & South America
‘In Deadly Time: the “Lasting On” of Waste in Mayhew’s London,’ in Time & Society, Vol. 16: 2/3 (2007), pp. 205-222.
‘From Digital Life to Data Trash,’ / 'Dalla vita digitale all'immondizia di dati' in Lo Squaderno: Explorations in Space and Society, No. 29, pp. 12-20.
‘Scenes from a Desert Wasteland,’ in Aesthetic Fatigue: Modernity and the Language of Waste, ed. J. Scanlan & J.F.M. Clark (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 45-70.
Aesthetic Fatigue: Modernity and the Language of Waste, ed. John Scanlan and John F.M. Clark (Newcastle, 2013), 350 pp.
‘The Language of Waste’ in Recycler l'urbain: Pour une Écologie des milieux habités, ed. Roberto D'Arienzo & Chris Younes (Geneva, 2014), pp. 9-21.
'Surf Life, ou l’excès à l’ère du numérique' [‘Surf Life, or Excess in the Digital Era’] in Techniques & Culture, Vol. 65 (2016), pp. 494-501.
The Times, 2005The Guardian, 2005The Herald, 2005BBC Radio 3 Night Waves, 2005 ABC Radio National Australia, ‘The Philosophers Zone’, 2005ABC Radio National Australia, ‘Perspective’, 2006La Stampa (Italy), 2006l’Unita (Italy), 2006 Radio Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2012.BBC Four TV, ‘The Secret Life of Rubbish’, 2012.BBC World Service, ‘The History of Wastefulness’, 2019.
FundingESRC, University of Glasgow, 1998-2001AHRC, University of St Andrews, 2003-06
Conferences / Seminar Series‘Modernity & Waste’, AHRC Centre for Environmental History, University of St Andrews, 16-17 June, 2006 (chair and organiser)
AHRB Centre for Environmental History Research Seminar Series, University of St Andrews, academic session 2004-05 (chair and organiser)
Research in RAE / REF2008, RAE, University of Bristol (UoA 41, Sociology). Research outputs.2014, REF, University of St Andrews (UoA 30, History). Impact Case Study.