Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Tad Mutersbaugh


The metabolic rift theory explores materials and social exchanges between rural and city communities and human-nature relations. Metabolic rifts can exist both environmentally and socially and are often geographically or culturally unique. Ultimately the metabolic rift is earmarked by increasing disconnection between humans and their environment. This thesis draws upon life cycle analysis studies, social-economic studies, and environmental and sustainability studies to argue that large-scale contemporary urban composting efforts, although well intended, are insufficient to mitigate the effects of the metabolic rift. Mobilizing theories around capitalism and the metabolic rift, this research paper connects social, environmental, and economic notions of striving to mend the metabolic rift and challenges the efficacy of composting to achieve this goal.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)