Analyzing The Contemporary North American Society And Its Consumption Habits Using The Discard And Rubbish Of The Material Culture

1762 Words May 6th, 2016 8 Pages
William Rathje began the Garbology project as an attempt to analyse the contemporary North American society and its consumption habits using the discard and rubbish of the material culture of the time. The anthropological project started in the 1970’s and was based in Tucson, Arizona and the long period that the study was carried out allowed it a possible element of continuity in its insights and conclusions. The Garbology Project used archaeological techniques to sort and quantify modern household refuse, in an attempt to explore contemporary consumer behaviour from the material residues that are left behind in trash cans and the landfill sites. The project was proposed by Rathje to give some insight on the anthropology of American food consumption through its waste materials. But Garbology also became a reliable check on some survey instruments used by institutions, and allowed researchers to look at patterns of discontinuity between verbal reports and actual behaviour. Rathje envisioned several possible applications for garbology in market research, nutrition, environmental psychology and cultural geography however it is thought that some of the central applications of the study are in food loss studies and waste management. But Rathje himself outlines the overall aims and insights in to human consumption behaviour provided by the study as being the, ‘…methods of waste minimisation, measures of diet, evaluations of participation in recycling programs…, cross…

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