Disorderly Dakar: The cultural politics of household waste in Senegal’s capital city


During the era of President Abdoulaye Wade, a household waste crisis periodically held the streets of Dakar in its noxious grip. This paper analyses the crisis in light of waste management’s role as a fundamental urban public service, key employment sector, and visceral symbol of the city’s management. It examines how the institutional landscape of waste management took centre stage in a power struggle within the state that centred on reconfiguring the labour of ordering the city. At the same time, it reveals how the waste-workers’ union emerged as one of the most visible and savvy labour movements in contemporary Senegal. Through the creative disorder unleashed by intentional acts of dirtying, workers and residents alike forged new claims to the city. Conclusions are drawn for the wider implications of the disorderly city for the urban question in Dakar and the landscape of citizenship in Senegal’s contemporary period.

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Publication Type Journal Article
Year 2013
Author(s) Fredericks R
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