Electronic waste (e-waste) science and advocacy at Agbogbloshie: the making and effects of "The world's largest e-waste dump"

Akese, Grace Abena (2019) Electronic waste (e-waste) science and advocacy at Agbogbloshie: the making and effects of "The world's largest e-waste dump". Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (4MB)


Over the last two decades, e-waste has become a crisis, receiving significant attention from activist, environmental groups, policymakers, news media, and academics. E-waste processing hubs in Africa and Asia pejoratively labelled “digital dumps” are at the center of the so-called crisis. This dissertation is about Agbogbloshie, a site in Accra, the capital of Ghana, ostensibly “the world’s largest e-waste dump.” I examine the making of this iconic imaginary of Agbogbloshie, the grounds on which it is built, and the effects of its circulation. Broadly, I investigate the knowledge-making practices central to representations of Agbogbloshie as “problem space” in need of interventions. I explore how advocacy groups, institutions (academic scholars), and individuals frame the content and relevance of knowledge about the site to elicit certain forms of interventions and how within this context, the knowledge they produce itself becomes a site of struggle around which contentious politics take place. I demonstrate that although the intention is to make visible the environmental and health effects of e-waste processing, the imaginaries produced about Agbogbloshie within ewaste science and advocacy do certain kinds of harm. Imaginaries of Agbogbloshie such as it is “the world’s largest e-waste dump” are not just representations; they do work, including adding to the harms experienced by those who live and work at the site. Questioning imaginaries of e-waste at Agbogbloshie, I open spaces where the tensions of Agbogbloshie as a site of/for e-waste science and advocacy can be more carefully thought through and done differently.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14273
Item ID: 14273
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-186).
Keywords: Electronic Waste, E-waste, Agbogbloshie, Environmental Politics, Discard Studies
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: October 2019
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/4DT6-AJ82
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Electronic waste--Ghana--Accra.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics