Dis/Assembling Value

Lessons from Waste Valuation Practices

  • Emma Greeson University of California San Diego
  • Stefan Laser RUSTlab, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Olli Pyyhtinen
Keywords: assemblage, disassembly, valuation, waste


In this text, we offer a vision of waste as integral and immanent to valuation practices and argue that engaging with waste materials can thereby significantly contribute to the field of valuation studies. We lay special emphasis on the intertwined practices and processes of assembling and disassembling value and waste. Creating value is a process of joining together: classifying, grouping, combining, making, re-forming. Yet it is also a process where persons, things, parts of bodies, or landscapes are disentangled, abandoned, dismissed, or corrupted. The notion of disassembly attracts attention not only to the center of the action of valuation but also to its peripheries—to things and materials which are cast aside, to spaces which accommodate that which has been disassembled, and the ambiguities and potentialities opened up by processes of disassembly. Thinking with waste also pushes us to think about how various regimes of value are connected and how they coexist and/or compete. As such, waste is not a coherent thing, but rather one that gets displaced and transformed in valuing practices which coexist in various ways.

How to Cite
Greeson, Emma, Stefan Laser, and Olli Pyyhtinen. 2020. “Dis/Assembling Value”. Valuation Studies 7 (2), 151-66. https://doi.org/10.3384/VS.2001-5992.2020.7.2.151-166.