How do we know e-waste? Electronic discards and the double social life of methods. by Josh Lepawsky published on 2014-02-26T18:11:30Z This is a talk I gave for a workshop called 'When All that is Solid Melts into Waste'. The workshop was in Lancaster, UK and I was on skype from St. John's NL. Here is the abstract of the presentation: How do we know e-waste? The evidential basis for analyzing e-waste relies on various forms of data and their collection; among these, in no particular order, are trade statistics, photography and video, asset tags, forensic digital data recovery, and expert testimony. STS literature argues that, rather than being neutral tools through which we come to know and represent the world, all methods have a double social life. They are doubly social in that they are situated (i.e., they are articulated by and from particular places and people) and they have affects (i.e., they are epistemologically and ontologically generative). This world making activity of method generates what Law (2010) calls collateral realities; these are realities that are created incidentally and by stealth, yet which partly make the phenomenon methods typically claim to only study or observe. In this presentation I explore the implications of the double social lives of the various ways those who study e-waste come to evidence it and know it. I explore the performative effects of these various ways of evidencing e-waste, query how those effects are fashioned into analytical narratives, and examine what performative force those narratives have beyond themselves, that is, how they are taken up in subsequent attempts to intervene in the management of e-waste.