Caring for waste: Handling tailings in a Chilean copper mine
How do we practically deal with the waste produced by industrial processes? Until now this question has overwhelmingly been answered in one way: through the deployment of different kinds of waste management programs,technology-based top-down actions for waste whose ultimate aim is to make it disappear both physically by leaving it in fully enclosed dumps and politically by eliminating it as a matter of concern that must be dealt with. Due to the multiple setbacks that this approach has faced in terms of large spills and continual pollution,this paper states the need to consider a parallel set of practices that have been enacted,that is,the practice of caring for waste. Based on current developments in science and technology studies,care is presented as a way to deal with waste that,based on everyday practices and the inescapability of failure,proposes temporary and experimental ways to involve all the concerned parties in the search for alternative ways to live with our waste,in material,ethical and political terms. In order to explore the challenges that such an approach entails this paper will present some examples of caring for waste developed by the personnel of a large copper mine located in central Chile.
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Institución: Universidad Alberto HurtadoFacultad: Ciencias SocialesUnidad: Sociología