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Accepted Paper:

Power through waste: community recycling centers in Auckland, Aotearoa/ New Zealand  
Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer (University of Konstanz)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on my ethnographic research in Auckland, Aotearoa/ New Zealand, I discuss urban processes of power, hierarchies and exclusions that emerge from the establishment of community recycling centers in a city that relies on an eco-friendly self-representation.

Paper long abstract:

Auckland is the biggest city of a country that is globally represented as "green and clean" and "100% pure". As part of the city development plan which promotes to make Auckland "the world's most liveable city", the council aims to reach a zero-waste-balance until 2040. The enormous landfill waste production is a highly debated topic in Auckland, that is conflicting with the ecofriendly image of the city.

In this regard, the council implemented a new type of "community" recycling centers, which I consider as closely entangled with urban power dynamics: I argue that the distribution and timeline of the newly opened centers reiterates common hierarchies in the urban matrix, reinforcing the demarcation line between the Southern suburbs which are medially represented as marginalised, criminalised and "dirty" on the one hand, and the Northern suburbs which are popular for their wealth, security and "cleanliness" on the other hand. Being referred to as a "good" and prestigious institution, the common rejection of waste management facilities gets reversed in this new project and rubbish gets transformed from an unwanted to a desirable, creative and visible item. At the same time, the clearly formulated community focus opens new ways of governance and intermingles different agents, positions and sites of power under the umbrella of "community".

Drawing on my ethnographic field research, I will discuss how the spatial and temporal dimensions of this zero waste approach interrelate with environmental (in-)justice in a city that identifies with ecofriendly ideals.

Panel P149
Wastescapes: spatial justice and inequalities in contemporary cities
  Session 1 Wednesday 15 August, 2018, -