Laying Waste Together: The Shared Creation and Disposal of Refuse in a Social Context

Perry, M., Juhlin, O., & Normark, D. (2010). Laying waste together: The shared creation and disposal of refuse in a social context. Space and Culture, 13(1), 75-94.

This article examines how a shared object—trash—is managed through a field study of its generation and disposal within a public setting. Collaboration around trash, examining ownership, accountability, shared responsibility, and social control over acceptable behavior, is investigated and discussed. An analysis to explore the production of public trash through everyday social practices rather than through reference to theory is developed, arguing that it is only through examining the material properties of the artifacts in use and their social context that the nature of refuse creation and the negotiation of social behavior around places of waste disposal can be understood. The authors extend the findings to examine their broader consequences on our understanding of, and design for, social behavior around shared objects within public spaces.

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