BOOK LAUNCH: Rubbish Belongs to the Poor: Hygienic Enclosure and the Waste Commons. Patrick O’hare

Wednesday 16 March 2022

CAS is proud to invite you to Patrick’s new monograph Rubbish Belongs to the Poor: Hygienic Enclosure and the Waste Commons.

The book is available to buy from Pluto Press (paperback at £19.99), with the possibility of a 30% discount by using the code ‘OHARE30’.

To mark this wonderful achievement, an in-person book launch will take place at Topping St Andrews bookshop on Monday 11 April at 8pm where Patrick will be in conversation with Scottish novelist and scriptwriter Chris Dolan. The event appears on the Topping website as priced, with the price of the ticket redeemed against the cost price of the book. However, it is also possible to attend for free, preferably by writing to Patrick (po35) to reserve a place. It would be great to see as many of you there as possible!

From the back cover of the book:

Rubbish. Waste. Trash. Whatever term you choose to describe the things we throw away, the connotations are the same; of something dirty, useless and incontrovertibly ‘bad’. But does such a dismissive rendering mask a more nuanced reality?In Rubbish Belongs to the Poor, Patrick O’Hare journeys to the heart of Uruguay’s waste disposal system in order to reconceptualize rubbish as a 21st century commons, at risk of enclosure. On a giant landfill site outside the capital Montevideo we meet the book’s central protagonists, the ‘classifiers’: waste-pickers who recover and recycle materials in and around its fenced but porous perimeter. Supplementing this rich ethnography with the author’s own insights from dumpster diving in St Andrews, the book analyses capitalism’s relations with its material surpluses and what these tell us about its expansionary logics, limits and liminal spaces. Rubbish Belongs to the Poor ultimately proposes a fundamental rethinking of the links between waste, capitalism and dignified work.

Praise for the book:

‘Activist scholarship of the highest calibre. This is an intimate, humorous and razor-sharp analysis of the politics of urban waste. O’Hare mounts a passionate defence of waste as commons, in the face of corporate and state initiatives to reconfigure waste as resource’

– Penny Harvey, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

‘By lingering with waste workers in Montevideo, Uruguay, O’Hare intricately unfolds the changing conditions of rubbish as it circulates through scavenging practices, urban infrastructures, circular economies, and global property structures. ‘Rubbish Belongs to the Poor’ offers a radically different view of how to shape environmental citizenships.’

– Jennifer Gabrys, Chair in Media, Culture and Environment, University of Cambridge

‘Radically rethinks the commons, urban infrastructure, and waste in ways that hold significant political implications for our time. Patrick O’Hare calls us to take seriously the work of waste reclaimers not as a problem in need of a solution, but rather, as a source of a new kind of politics’

– Kathleen Millar, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University

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