To appreciate how a spatial assemblage (recycling waste management system) is constructed, it is necessary to look at how practices, performed by bundles of humans and non-humans, inside and outside households interact.
Drawing on Michael Callon (2008)’s concept of agencement, Dr Gustavo Guzman is exploring the idea of spatial agencing with regard to the actor-network connections in recycling waste management.
Depending on the particular position of actors in the arrangement, some might be able to influence the outcome of the network to a greater or lesser extent. For example, a household that mixes their recycling could negatively affect the sorting process compared with households that pre-sort and deliver it to a recycling collection point.
Field material was collected as part of a longitudinal study of the efforts to implement a recyclable solid waste management system in Flowery, a small regional town in Brazil. By mapping the main actors, connections and outcomes. Around this time, the researchers started to notice geography of the city dwellings was important; the role of truck collection was crucial; the composition of both organic and inorganic solid waste materials had played a key role in an assemblage as well as the collaboration households.
When digging further it become clear the alignment of timing of activities among actants playing in different assemblages was important for the success of the new system. Then, geography, timing and materiality became the basis of our categories of analysis. The central categories applied in this analysis therefore, were the product of an interactive process between data communicating something to academics, and academics browsing concepts and selecting the one that suits what data was communicating.
As part of his stay as Visiting researcher at Gothenburg Research Institute (Gothenburg University, Sweden), Dr Guzman, pictured left, attended and presented a paper on this topic at the 2019 Nordic Academy of Management, University of Vaasa, Finland.