Definitions for garbology
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word garbology
the study of a society by analyzing its garbage
The anthropological study of society through refuse.
Origin: garbage and -ology
Garbology is the study of modern refuse and trash. The word itself was invented by A. J. Weberman to describe a journalistic technique applied to Bob Dylan wherein the contents of his trash was analyzed. Prior to this the word garbologist was used in Australia to describe garbage collectors. As an academic discipline it was pioneered at the University of Arizona and long directed by William Rathje. The project started in 1973, originating from an idea of two students for a class project. It is a major source of information on the nature and changing patterns in modern refuse, and thereby, human society. Industries wishing to demonstrate that discards originating with their products are important in the trash stream are avid followers of this research, as are municipalities wishing to learn whether some parts of the trash they collect has any salable value. The studies of garbology and archaeology often overlap, because fossilized or otherwise time-modified trash is quite often the only remnant of ancient populations that can be found. For those who did not leave buildings, writing, tombs, trade goods, or pottery, refuse and trash are likely to be the only possible sources of information. In addition, ancient garbage sometimes contains information available in no other way, such as food remains, pollen traces of then local plants, and broken tools.
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