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Scott Lougheed presents "Neoliberalism and the Governance of Municipal Solid Waste"

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Biosciences Complex
Room: 3110
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Managing municipal solid waste is a pressing environmental and political concern for Canadian municipalities who bear the primary responsibility for waste management (WM). What might be the consequences of this particular scaling of WM? A history of downloading responsibility for WM to municipalities, regional districts, and industry has fragmented WM governance, constraining possible means of transitioning to more broadly sustainable WM policies and practices. In particular, this localization of responsibility is incompatible with contemporary WM challenges, resulting in an overemphasis on individual responsibility. Using Foucault’s governmentality theory, our data derived from a survey (n = 104) of Kingston residents suggest that the city’s reliance on an attitude-behaviour-context model of behaviour change successfully fosters an environmental citizenship identity based on waste diversion (e.g., recycling). However, we argue that the neoliberal governmentality upon which the attitude-behaviour-context model is predicated elides the need for, and inhibits consideration of, broader societal change concerning urgent environmental issues involving consumption and waste.

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