A Research Agenda for Global Environmental Politics
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A Research Agenda for Global Environmental Politics

Edited by Peter Dauvergne and Justin Alger

In a world confronted with escalating environmental crises, are academics asking the right questions and advocating the best solutions? This Research Agenda paves the way for new and established scholars in the field, identifying the significant gaps in research and emerging issues for future generations in global environmental politics.
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Chapter 7: The new global political economy of waste

Kate O’Neill


This chapter addresses the global political economy of waste in the twenty-first century. It identifies new topics and trends in this critical field, including the international scrap trade, food waste, electronic waste, and the rise of new transnational activist movements. Wastes have become a commodity traded from North to South, from South to North, and among Southern countries. The chapter outlines challenges to conventional wisdom about international production and transfer of wastes. Global environmental politics (GEP) scholarship has yet to fully engage with this new waste landscape and its political implications, although other fields are engaging, notably geography, and a new, multidisciplinary field, discard studies. By the same token, these fields can gain from the insights GEP and other fields of global politics can provide. This chapter draws on diverse bodies of literature, data, and journalism to show the complexities, linkages, and cross-scalar dynamics that characterize the “new” global political economy of waste.

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