Panel discussion on 21 Sept at Tampere University: Following waste flows: On more-than-human methodologies

The WasteMatters and DECAY projects are organizing a panel discussion Following waste flows: On more-than-human methodologies, featuring Professor Tora Holmberg (Uppsala University) as our guest of honour.  The other panelists are Professor Olli Pyyhtinen (PI of the projects), Dr Ulla-Maija Sutinen (postdoctoral researcher, WasteMatters), and Dr Francisco Martinez (postdoctoral researcher, WasteMatters). The session will be chaired by Alma Onali (doctoral researcher, WasteMatters).  

In this event, we cultivate a curiosity towards waste as both a theoretically intriguing notion and as a very material, practical issue to be studied and also be dealt with. How to tell stories of unruly, vagabond waste matter that rots, leaks, expands, and spreads all over our living environment, and of what happens to materials as they flow, mix, and mutate, are sorted out, discarded, transported, processed, ordered, and occasionally extracted from the waste stream? How to think and conduct research with waste? Can more-than-human entities become ‘participants’ in research, and what could that possibly mean? And what kinds of challenges do researchers face when studying more-than-human realities? 

While waste forms our main focus, the discussion also touches on more-than-human methodologies and research techniques more broadly, as many of the challenges and also opportunities of methodologically engaging with our more-than-human ‘others’ resonate with other contexts as well. And we invite the audience too to engage with us in a lively discussion on how to incorporate more-than-human entities and materials such as waste into social scientific research practices. 

The event is organised on Thursday 21 September between 14:30 and 16:00 in Virta 113 (on the City Centre Campus of Tampere University; see campus map). Welcome! 

Short bio of Tora Holmberg: 

Tora Holmberg is Professor of Sociology and Vice-Rector at Uppsala University in Sweden. Her research is broadly situated within science and technology studies (STS), urban theory, feminist science studies and human-animal studies. One main thread of her work concerns issues that may appear as somewhat marginal to social science and sociology: science and its objects, sex, bodies, nature, animals, and physical space. Her publications include for instance the book Urban Animals. Crowding in ZooCities (Routledge, 2017) and the articles ‘The (in)visibility of sewage management and problematization as strategy for public awareness’ (Sociological Review, 2023; with M. Ideland) and ‘The circular economy of food waste: Transforming waste to energy through “make-up” work’ (Journal of Material Culture, 2021; with M. Ideland).