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Grace Akese

Grace AkeseCoordinates

Office: Chat Lab, CS portable 1017
Phone: (709) 864-2966
Fax: (709) 864- 3119

E-mail: gaa538[at]mun[dot]ca

Supervisor

Dr. Josh Lepawsky

Committee

Dr. Kelly Vodden
Dr. Sharon Roseman

Thesis Title

Pricing electronic waste: Market making in the trade of electronic waste (e-waste) in Accra, Ghana

Research description

Emerging work in economic geography and the new sociology of markets demonstrates that, despite a long history of economic theory about markets and prices, basic questions need to be asked anew. For example, what is a price? Recent work informed by anthropology, sociology, geography and science and technology studies suggests that price is an indexical possibility realized in a field of struggle, rather than the outcome of supply/demand curves. This work draws its evidence from studies of standardized commodities such as cotton and demonstrates the important work that goes into such standardization allowing prices to be realized. Yet, this begs the question: what is a price when the commodity being bought and sold is something other than a standard commodity? One example of such a situation is the trade in electronic waste (e-waste). Waste is theorized to be multiple, mercurial and unstable. How does that which is multiple, mercurial, and unstable become standardized for exchange? What effect(s) does this standardization have for how the price of the commodity is realized and for those who trade it? This questions come to the forefront in Ghana were an estimated 6300-9600 people trade in cast-off electronics. Drawing on ethnographic sensibilities of following practices, I explore the practices enabling the trade of rubbish electronics. Specifically I pose the questions: What is a price? How is this price realized when the commodity traded is rubbish electronics?

Research interest

  • Economization and marketization studies
  • Geographies of waste and practices of wasting (special focus on e-waste)
  • Cultural, economic and urban geographies
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