International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 299

Article in Press

THE SOCIOGRAPHY OF WASTE ELECTRONICS (E-WASTES) IN NIGERIA: THE MAPPING OF SOCIAL LIVES OF THINGS IN THE SECOND HAND COMMODITY SPACE

AKINTUNDE, Abel Akintoye

  •  Received: 06 May 2019
  •  Accepted: 30 July 2019
In debates on used object materiality, emphases on abjection and terminality of used objects through which objects such as electronics are classified as e-wastes, provide an important but partial explanation of the use biographies and possible life experiences of these objects beyond discard. This paper argues that, used objects also have potential further lives, but these lives only become visible when attention shifts from materiality to how materiality is constructed socially by people. The concept of sociography is used in the study to indicate and explain the subjective but empirical value biography and lifetime identity which a used electronics (and “waste” object) object experiences within the context of reuse and social relations of second-hand culture of consumption and merchandise in Lagos, Nigeria, where these ‘supposed’ e-wastes are symbolically “born again”. Three basic sociographies identified in this study are the commodity sociography, fabricate sociography and the regenerate sociography. These three empirically illustrate how the materiality of West-used, non-functioning and discarded electronics, voyage from meanings of abjection and materially terminal lifespans in the West into symbolic indeterminate lifetimes after importation into Nigeria. In a second-hand market culture context, this study unveils obscured sociography of used objects’ through their value biographies from their discard and outside pure-scientifically presumed materiality, terminality and abjection to new socio-economic significance.

Keywords: E-WASTE, WASTE-MEANINGS, E-WASTE-LIFESPAN, E-WASTE LIFETIME, OBJECT MATERIALITY, SOCIOGRAPHY, SECOND-HAND CULTURE