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A Culture of Recycling / Recycling Culture?

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Edited By Wojciech Kalaga, Marzena Kubisz and Jacek Mydla

The purpose of this volume is to address the notion of cultural recycling by assessing its applicability to various modes of cultural and theoretical discourse. The word «recycling» is here used collectively to denote phenomena such as cyclicity, repetition, recurrence, renewal, reuse, reproduction, etc., which seem to be inalienable from basic cultural processes. Part of our purpose in proposing this theme is a desire to trace, confront, interrogate, and theorise the surviving phantoms of newness and paradigms of creativity or dreams of originality, and to consider the need, a necessity perhaps, to overcome or sustain them, and, further, to estimate the possibility of cultural survival if it turns out, as it may, that culture is forever to remain an endless recurrence of the same.

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PART IV. RECYCLING THEORY

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PART IV RECYCLING THEORY Anna Chromik-Krzykawska Between Use and Refuse: Reclaiming the Abject into Culture Re-cycling means bringing something back into a cycle. The recycling symbol with three arrows arranged in the form of an unending loop suggest a closed, finite circuit. Through its continuous motion it creates a sphere of constant tensions and dynamic interactions, rendering everything which is beyond it marginal. The marginal is not drawn into the dynamic current of movement, it is not engaged in any activity, it does not create energy, it is passive and useless – it is waste. The finite circuit does not acknowledge any gaps. The cycle seen as a certain procedure is a system following its patterns. If one of the subsequent phases is interrupted, the whole process might be disrupted. The dynamic tensions within the cycle guarantee balance and self-integrity. The cycle is also a circle, the enlightened geometrical sphere standing for harmony, order and ratio. As such the cycle epitomizes the great modern narratives: economic utility, rationalism, purposefulness, wastelessness: values greatly esteemed by civilization. The cycle is then a sphere of regulation and meaning – a perfect embodiment of principles promoted by modern narratives. What is beyond this demarcated sphere is then “what disturbs identity, system, order” and “[w]hat does not respect borders, positions, rules,”1 that is, what Julia Kristeva defines as abject. The abject, according to Kristeva, is an alien in the self, excreta, what disrupts the integrity of an “own and clean self.”2 Separation from the...

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