Kathrin Eitel, "Recycling Infrastructures in Cambodia: Circularity, Waste, and Urban Life in Phnom Penh" (Routledge, 2022)


Kathrin Eitel's book Recycling Infrastructures in Cambodia: Circularity, Waste, and Urban Life in Phnom Penh (Routledge, 2022) examines the recycling infrastructure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It considers the circular flows of waste and practices through 'infracycles', maintenance practices that tinker with the social and capitalist order, and postcolonial ways of doing politics that co-constitute predominant waste fantasies from which naturecultures ooze out, shaping urban life in their own way.

In this context, socially marginalized waste pickers contest the capitalist system by creating tropes about freedom, labor autonomy, and the will to survive. In this regard, they are also meddling about a new social order that represents the fine line Cambodia is sashaying between tradition and modernity. Waste fantasies that are a result of environmental problematizations, however, perpetuate postcolonial ways of doing politics by exuding notions of waste as detached from its sociocultural context. But ultimately, waste slips through the cracks of these dominant imaginaries and global waste reduction models enacting new versions of what waste and the city is, providing opportunities for another future waste policy.

This book is a unique contribution to the field of infrastructure studies emphasizing the importance of perceiving infrastructure as circular in smaller 'infracycles', rather than linear. It will be of interest to researchers in the field of environmental anthropology, science and technology studies, urban studies, and Southeast Asian studies.

The Introduction of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access from the individual product page at www.routledge.com. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Kathrin Eitel is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the University of Zurich.

Professor Michele Ford is the Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia.

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Michele Ford

Professor Michele Ford is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia.

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