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CALL FOR PAPERS | Urban Waste, Presents and Futures

The Editorial Board is issuing a call for papers for a forthcoming special series in Metropolitics titled “Urban Waste, Presents and Futures”. We welcome submissions through January 3, 2022.

In the face of climate catastrophe, cities and regions are scrambling to reinvest in infrastructure. Municipal waste management is just one of the many urban systems in need of rapid transformation, but it is increasingly relevant.

Not only do conventional municipal waste management strategies—landfill and incineration—reproduce environmental injustices and emit greenhouse gasses and a host of toxins, they also prop up the whole global consumption economy. Networked pathways of production and consumption depend on efficient trash removal at the local scale.

Nearly everywhere, corporate producers and manufacturers have successfully fended off regulatory action by offloading responsibility for managing the effects of wasteful production onto consumers and local governments. This means that producers have been free to unleash a growing deluge of single-use convenience products and packaging that are trash before they even leave the factory floor.

Government, NGO, cooperative, and individual actors have undertaken all manner of innovative waste practices in cities around the world. Taking on everything from the overproduction of plastics to food-scrap recycling to collective resource sharing, coalitions of actors are redefining waste, remaking material practices, and redesigning the power landscapes of the consumption economy.

This special series, guest-edited by Lily Pollans, invites contributions from observers of all stripes that seek to expose, explore, celebrate, critique, or simply document experimental waste processes at the urban scale that challenge (or at least attempt to challenge) one-way material flows and neoliberal material management practices.

Topics may include—but are not limited to:

  • case studies of radical waste planning or policy;
  • cases of collective or cooperative material organizing;
  • novel theoretical formulations of waste, waste management, waste in urban space, or social processes of waste;
  • explorations of waste and justice movements or political rearrangements around waste processes.

Anticolonial, feminist, degrowth, and other approaches to knowledge generation and claiming are welcome. Contributions may include theoretical and empirical writing, visual media, and interviews with practitioners or activists. Other creative formats will also be considered.

Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis through January 3, 2022. View our editorial charter and style guide here. Please email articles to the Editorial Director, James DeFilippis, at: defilip [at] rutgers [dot] edu.

Metropolitics is an editorially peer-reviewed online journal that publishes concise academic essays and papers aimed at an international audience. The journal’s mission is public scholarship: short-form work about cities and urban politics, based on original research, on a quick time frame that allows researchers to contribute to public debate and make their scholarly work relevant to a broad readership.

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To cite this article:

The Editorial Board, “CALL FOR PAPERS | Urban Waste, Presents and Futures”, Metropolitics, 28 October 2021. URL :

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Journal supported by the Institut des Sciences Humaines et Sociales (Institute of Human and Social Sciences) of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)