Date of Award
Thesis open access
Sarah Beth Kaufman
International regulations have sought to curb illicit flows of electronic waste (e-waste) from Global North countries to Global South countries. At the same time, they provide a means for certified recyclers to imagine themselves as moral entrepreneurs with coherent industrial practices. Making the most value from discarded machines, however, is a process that requires careful attention to the indeterminate materiality of their supply. Used machines’ materiality is made indeterminate by the unpredictable amount of human wear on each machine. What this entails for the recycler is a process in negotiation with these unique conditions. Based on fieldwork and interviews with Euroamerican recyclers, brokers, auditors, and regulations staff, this thesis studies the moment a certified recycler decides how to process a discarded machine. It argues that the materiality of used electronics guides the production of ethical meanings and economic value.
Paniagua, Michael A. Jr., "Virtuous Disassembly: Material and Ethical Practice of a Global Electronic Waste Regime" (2019). Sociology and Anthropology Honors Theses. 10.
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