Citation

Will Work for Food: Ideological and Organizational Stigma Management among Dumpster Divers in New York City

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Abstract:

The act of scavenging through the refuse of others, today alternatively referred to as dumpster diving, has long been fraught with a foul-smelling stigma. Why do certain individuals, some of whom are solidly middle-class, willingly engage in this discrediting behavior, alongside those who scavenge primarily out of necessity?

This paper is the product of five months of in-depth participant observation in various contexts related to dumpster diving in the New York City area. Throughout this period, the author became acquainted with numerous dumpster divers through informal encounters on the street and through organizations more formally and explicitly dedicated to the practice. Among the dumpster divers in the second group were self-described “freegans,” or “people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources” (http://freegan.info).

As a comparative study, the paper contrasts the worldviews of independent dumpster divers encountered on the street with “freegans” who dumpster dive in the context of more formal organizations and finds that ideology and organization play a significant role in shaping both how individuals understand themselves in relation to dumpster diving and the practice itself. While individuals in the first group exhibited informal forms of organization and sociability, individuals embedded in more formal organizations expressed an altogether alternative stigma management strategy and set of justifications regarding the practice. In considering the role of ideology and organization in relation to separate stigma management strategies, the paper presents findings relevant to scholars of culture, deviance, organizations and consumption.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

dumpster (203), dive (112), freegan (111), organ (99), practic (74), diver (70), group (53), individu (49), ideolog (42), social (41), also (40), freegan.info (40), stigma (38), differ (37), peopl (35), food (33), one (30), within (30), understand (28), work (27), way (27),
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.asanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p563449_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Savio, Gianmarco. "Will Work for Food: Ideological and Organizational Stigma Management among Dumpster Divers in New York City" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Colorado Convention Center and Hyatt Regency, Denver, CO, Aug 16, 2012 <Not Available>. 2014-12-12 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p563449_index.html>

APA Citation:

Savio, G. , 2012-08-16 "Will Work for Food: Ideological and Organizational Stigma Management among Dumpster Divers in New York City" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Colorado Convention Center and Hyatt Regency, Denver, CO Online <PDF>. 2014-12-12 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p563449_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The act of scavenging through the refuse of others, today alternatively referred to as dumpster diving, has long been fraught with a foul-smelling stigma. Why do certain individuals, some of whom are solidly middle-class, willingly engage in this discrediting behavior, alongside those who scavenge primarily out of necessity?

This paper is the product of five months of in-depth participant observation in various contexts related to dumpster diving in the New York City area. Throughout this period, the author became acquainted with numerous dumpster divers through informal encounters on the street and through organizations more formally and explicitly dedicated to the practice. Among the dumpster divers in the second group were self-described “freegans,” or “people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources” (http://freegan.info).

As a comparative study, the paper contrasts the worldviews of independent dumpster divers encountered on the street with “freegans” who dumpster dive in the context of more formal organizations and finds that ideology and organization play a significant role in shaping both how individuals understand themselves in relation to dumpster diving and the practice itself. While individuals in the first group exhibited informal forms of organization and sociability, individuals embedded in more formal organizations expressed an altogether alternative stigma management strategy and set of justifications regarding the practice. In considering the role of ideology and organization in relation to separate stigma management strategies, the paper presents findings relevant to scholars of culture, deviance, organizations and consumption.


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