Housing waste in remote Indigenous Australia

Liam Grealy, Tess Lea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The regular garbage collection schedule appears to be an ever-present feature of modern urban life in most developed countries-a routine, unquestioned part of our collective waste management practices. This chapter examines how this temporal routine became normalised and embodied in our daily lives as a disciplinary aspect of biopolitical governmentality and the various temporal concerns that significantly influenced its key features. “House offal” as a material of rapid decay and rot in urban settings, exacerbated by other temporalities like temperature seasonality and population fluctuations and densities, presented a key rationale for regular collection. The schedule constituted a temporal grid of compliance adopted to synchronise the population’s waste management practices to confront the temporal irregularities of uncontrolled biopolitical processes. Yet, as the disciplinary practices of regular containerisation, moving to the curb, and collection became normalised, the established conveyor belt of waste simultaneously produced environmental injustices and wasted spaces. While some urban private and public spaces were rendered clean, other areas were never served or became disposal sites, especially communities of people of colour, immigrants and the poor. These inequalities raise unresolved ethical and moral questions. Are the temporalities of waste inherent in the schedule the right ones for our time?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Temporalities of Waste
Subtitle of host publicationOut of Sight, Out of Time
EditorsFiona Allon, Ruth Barcan, Karma Eddison-Cogan
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781000209075
ISBN (Print)9780367321796
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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