The Life and Times of Landfills

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Journal of Ecological Anthropology, ISSN: 1528-6509, Vol: 18, Issue: 1

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Reno, Joshua O
University of South Florida Libraries
temporality; waste; landscape; non-humans; more-than-human sociality; Animal Studies; Environmental Studies; Social and Cultural Anthropology
article description
American landfills are primarily understood as distinctly human and spatial creations, when in practice they are as much temporal as spatial and as much non-human as human. Based on a large landfill on the rural periphery of Detroit, this paper explores the emergent and polychronic forms of life fostered by controlled dumping. Landfill employees work with their ecological surroundings to satisfy regulatory directives and assemble ever-growing mountains of waste. The paper introduces the complex, practical negotiations that result by isolating and diagraming the distinct temporal scales at which nonhuman beings and powers aid in and disrupt the process of landfilling.