'The landfill has always borne fruit' : precarity, formalisation and dispossession among Uruguay's waste pickers
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Precarity has often been considered a hallmark of waste-picking, a survival activity whose practitioners are exposed to health risks, exploitation and fluctuating commodity markets. Adopting a three-dimensional approach to precarity that centres on 'exposure to danger', 'uncertain tenure' and 'dependence', this paper compares Uruguayan waste-pickers' (clasificadores) experiences of precarity at the Felipe Cardoso landfill, its related cooperative, and a formal sector recycling plant. Clasificadores at Felipe Cardoso characterise the landfill as a 'mother' who dependably provides them with food, clothes and construction materials. Recently, the Uruguayan state has sought to divert clasificadores to what is regarded as more dignified labour in recycling plants. I argue that the formalisation of some waste-pickers creates a cleavage within the occupation, dispossessing and delegitimising those who continue to work 'informally'.
O'Hare , P 2019 , ' 'The landfill has always borne fruit' : precarity, formalisation and dispossession among Uruguay's waste pickers ' , Dialectical Anthropology , vol. 43 , no. 1 , pp. 31-44 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10624-018-9533-6
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DescriptionThis research was funded by an ESRC doctoral studentship, based at the University of Cambridge.
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