Although the notion of waste is often used colloquially, it should stand as no reason for not using it by academics. However, in academic writing “waste” is not explicitly defined and conceptualised. Instead, it is applied as a term indicating a negative evaluation of the analysed phenomenon. An indispensable part of the category of waste is therefore normativism, which refers to a positive or even ideal state of affairs.

During my lecture I will present the basic contexts of using the notion of waste understood in this way, especially with reference to reflections concerning the nature, economy, and certain social practices. I will then identify the evaluative contents present in them and critique them. As a result, an attempt will be made to present a formal definition of “waste”, one that will assume that it is a social construct.

Ariel Modrzyk is a sociologist and PhD student at the Department of Sociology of the Everyday Life at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He has published texts in collective studies and journals such as “Kultura i Społeczeństwo”, “Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny”, “Nowa Krytyka”, “Praktyka Teoretyczna”. His academic interests include (post-)Marxism, sociology of the economy, ecology, and social psychology. He is the author of the book “Pomiędzy normatywizmem a realizmem. Od teorii uznania Axela Honnetha do radykalnie refleksyjnej krytyki społecznej” (Between Normativism and Realism. From Axel Honneth’s Theory of Recognition to the Radically Reflective Social Critique” (Ha!art, 2013).