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Governing Household Waste Management: An Empirical Analysis and Critique

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We conducted a survey of residents of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, (n = 107) to understand their attitudes to and experiences of waste management and governance. Currently, the municipality is emphasising waste diversion and exploring new waste processing systems (WPS; e.g., incineration) to reduce costs. Using Foucault's governmentality theory, our data suggest Kingston's reliance on an attitude-behaviour-context model of behaviour change successfully fosters an environmental citizenship identity based on waste diversion (e.g., recycling). However, we argue that the neoliberal governmentality upon which the attitude-behaviour-context model is predicated elides the need for, and inhibits consideration of, broader societal change concerning urgent environmental issues involving consumption and waste.

Keywords: Governmentality; environmental citizenship; politics; waste management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2021) of 1.831. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.192.
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