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Patrick O'Hare

Monday 11th April 2022

Topping & Company Booksellers of St Andrews, 7 Greyfriars Garden, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9HG
Doors Open
Start Time

Join us on the 11th of April for a celebration of the new book from St Andrews Future Leaders Fellow Dr. Patrick O’Hare. Patrick, who will be joined by Scottish novelist Chris Dolan, will be discussing his new book Rubbish Belongs to the Poor. Rubbish. Waste. Trash. Whatever term you choose to describe the things we throw away, the connotations are the same; of something dirty, useless and incontrovertibly ‘bad’. But does such a dismissive rendering mask a more nuanced reality?

In Rubbish Belongs to the Poor, Patrick O’Hare journeys to the heart of Uruguay’s waste disposal system in order to reconceptualize rubbish as a 21st century commons, at risk of enclosure. On a giant landfill site outside the capital Montevideo we meet the book’s central protagonists, the ‘classifiers’: waste-pickers who recover and recycle materials in and around its fenced but porous perimeter.

Supplementing this rich ethnography with the author’s own insights from dumpster diving in St Andrews, the book analyses capitalism’s relations with its material surpluses and what these tell us about its expansionary logics, limits and liminal spaces. Rubbish Belongs to the Poor ultimately proposes a fundamental rethinking of the links between waste, capitalism and dignified work.