Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dynamic decomposition: A creative rearrangement of "waste"
by Pfeifer, Patrick F., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2013, 194; 1537801
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis dissects the category of "waste," examining conventional modes of response to the people, places, and things considered waste, and challenging the patterns of both linear disposal and cyclical recycling. I argue that both ways of thinking about "waste" actually share the same problematic roots and reproduce the same problematic logics, and that both oversimplify the diverse spectrum of potentials and histories contained within "waste."

Using a methodology that links personal narrative with historical analysis, I decompose the very idea of waste to understand the constellation of factors and processes that actively produce "waste" in contrast with "value," discussing histories of recycling and disposal in tandem with histories of capitalism, colonialism, and industrialization. With recent composting work at Northern Arizona University serving as both metaphor and example throughout this thesis, I build an alternative to the existing paradigm of waste, offering a more complex, diverse, dynamic, and interconnected framework for relating to and redefining "waste."

To do this, I explore not only theoretical and conceptual strategies for revealing and amplifying the hidden diversity of alternate values, benefits, and relationships around (non)waste, but also transition theory to practice by mapping out ways to physically implement these ideas through specific projects and actions that actively shift the ways people think about and interact with "waste" on a daily basis. By mapping out the theory and action involved in re-shaping human interactions with the things considered "waste," this thesis hopes to inspire others to keep working with these ideas and to continue developing projects that transition from a state of waste to (non)waste by creating a more socially and ecologically ethical paradigm of relationships beyond "waste."

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Coles, Romand
Commitee: Bernstein, Eli, Fernandez, Luis
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental philosophy, Ethics, Sustainability
Keywords: Alternatives, Compost, History, Recycling, Waste
Publication Number: 1537801
ISBN: 9781303096778
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