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Moving things along: the conduits and practices of divestment in consumption

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This paper provides a geographical analysis of divestment. Drawing on two years of intensive qualitative research with households, we explore empirically the range of conduits that figure in household divestment, showing how surplus and excess things are routinely moved through specific conduits. We argue that, rather than focusing on the trajectories of things in divestment, it is practices of divestment that merit attention, and that divestment itself is also a practice. Further, we argue that divestment practices are about trying to constitute a normative around surplus and excess things; that they connect up to the reproduction of particular consumption practices and to the meta practice of consumption. The paper also considers the relation between divestment practice and the question of disposal. We argue that, as well as paying attention to conduits, connectivities and the work of the return, there is a need to focus on placings and practices, that not only have the potential to act-back but which are always acting-back.

Keywords: consumption; disposal; divestment; practice

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, Email: 2: SCHaRR, University of Sheffield, Sheffield 3: School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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