[URBANTH-L] CFP: The Anthropology of Freecycling (for the 2009 AAA meetings)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Sun Feb 22 14:56:46 EST 2009



for the American Anthropological Association's annual conference

at the Philadelphia Marriott, December 2-6, 2009




Angela Jancius, Chair/Organizer


Freecycling is the act of giving away usable but unwanted items rather than hoarding or disposing of them.  It is related to other scavenging and sharing trends of late capitalism - from dumpster diving (an activity performed by "freegans"), to open source and creative commons software and publications, to guerilla gardening (i.e. taking over abandoned properties to grow vegetables and flowers).  While turning discarded materials into usable goods has long been commplace at the economic peripheries of capitalism, it has not been a usual practice in wealthy, heavily industrialized centers - perhaps, that is, until now.  Following four decades of large industry's disappearance, capped off by an escalating fiscal crisis, the capital value of goods and labor in the wealthiest G8 countries is visibly in decline.  It should be of no surprise, perhaps, that sharing and gleaning, as a way of life, is gaining popularity.  Drawing from ethnographic comparisons, and defining freecycling in the broadest sense, this panel seeks to explore:  How should "freecycling" be defined? Who engages in freecycling?  Why do people freecycle?  What impact does freecycling have on formal modes of production and economic exchange?  How does it relate to other social and economic developments of late capitalism?  Is it a subversive activity?  How does freecycling compare in rural and urban areas, and in global contexts?  


Ethnographic and theoretical papers are sought that treat these and related themes.  Following the AAA conference, we will explore the possibility of publishing the papers as an edited volume.


If you are interested in participating in this panel, please send an initial email conveying your interest. Your 250-word abstract must be sent to Angela Jancius (jancisu3022 at comcast.net) no later than March 15, 2009. 

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