12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Provincialising waste: the transformation of am...
View graph of relations

« Back

Provincialising waste: the transformation of ambulance car 7/83-2 to tro-tro Dr.JESUS

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Journal number4
Volume30
Number of pages16
Pages639-654
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the material and social transformation of a German ambulance car into a Ghanaian minibus—called tro-tros in Ghana. We track the journey of a Mercedes Benz 310 from Winnenden in Germany to Kumasi in Ghana and examine the transformation of Rettungswagen 7/83-2 to tro-tro Dr.JESUS. Tracing the car’s geobiography enables us to explore a specific material relation between Europe and West Africa. Considering debates on technology transfer and transformation, we argue for a nuanced understanding of ‘fluid technologies’ that includes opportunities but also emphasises the dangers implicated in the transfer and transformation of objects. Furthermore, by locating the reused bus within international trade in discarded objects, we introduce the notion of ‘provincialising waste’ to underline changing uses and values of objects. In this paper we suggest that careful attention needs to be paid to the ambivalent geobiographies of secondhand objects.