Ecologies of Valuation

Ridding as a Mechanism for Valuation of Used Goods

  • Emma Greeson Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany,
Keywords: valuation, waste, used clothing, qualification, ecology


When used consumer goods are exchanged, valuation proceeds differently than in markets for new goods. Many studies emphasize the social or socio-technical nature of valuation processes. This article outlines the difficulties inherent in these approaches when it comes to understanding valuation of used goods. These approaches, somewhat paradoxically, obscure the greater situatedness of contextualized “moments of valuation” in material flows and in relation to production processes. The ecological approach developed here shows that moments of valuation are never divorced from temporally and spatially prior and subsequent moments of valuation and waste production, and cannot be fully understood if not considered alongside the conditions in which the goods being valued are produced. The subtractive logic of ridding is crucial in the processes of production and valuation of used goods. This article draws on ethnographic and interview data from fourteen months of fieldwork in England to show how used books are valued in an ecology that stretches across connected moments and sites. 

How to Cite
Greeson, Emma. 2020. “Ecologies of Valuation”. Valuation Studies 7 (2), 167-96.