Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Sutton, David


This project explores the practice of dumpster diving and people who utilize it for procuring food on a regular basis. It examines the manner in which dumpster contents transform from viable food to discarded waste back into reclaimed food throughout this process. A content analysis of media portrayals of dumpster diving examines the manners in which dumpster diving is depicted within popular culture. Two groups in particular that utilize dumpster diving as a tool to feed a multitude of people at one time are The Rainbow Community and Food Not Bombs. I conducted original fieldwork and ethnographic interviews with people in each group to better understand the role of dumpster diving within the groups. This fieldwork entailed attending the 2013 Shawnee Regional Rainbow Gathering and going to multiple food sharings at various Food Not Bombs chapters. Throughout the investigation, affect theory was used as a framework to better understand participation involvement in the practice and transformative qualities of the food itself.




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