Paper long abstract:
In 2000, Brazil produced around 230,000 tons of garbage per day. These numbers stand for the residues that are taken care of by the municipal sanitation services. There are also unofficial and improvised open air deposits of garbage all over the country.
With a starting point on the materiality of garbage, this paper examines the tension between policies of exclusion and struggles for participation in society. What is garbage and for whom? It looks particularly at the way female garbage scavengers in the city of Belo Horizonte, southeastern Brazil, are organizing themselves in movements and associations. As some seem to see garbage only as an abject and unwanted collateral effect of consumption, others seem to be using it as a source of survival and a way to claim social visibility.