My research explores the attempt to bring under control e-waste recycling in India that has come to be known for its substandard practices. In 2019, I did twelve-months of ethnographic fieldwork studying how fulfilling environmental responsibility can be marketized. I trace the way a crisis narrative is woven into the creation of a market in sustainable and environmentally responsible services. I explore what it takes to revalue e-waste into resource, paying attention to the rhetoric around informality, toxicity and circular economy. Furthermore, I observe the far-reaching consequences of the attempts to regularise e-waste recycling for those whose lives are irredeemably caught up in the fortunes of this enchanting waste form.
Recipient of the Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant