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Accepted Paper:

Landscapes of Waste : struggles around Asia's largest dumping ground- Deonar in Mumbai, India  
Sneha Sharma (University of Bonn)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses how waste (re)produces spatial hierarchies & social exclusion using contestations & negotiations around geographies of urban space and notions of environmentalism. It explores how certain materials, spaces & bodies are made disposable while some are rendered desirable or valuable

Paper long abstract:

This paper narrates a story of a city through its waste as it analyzes how metabolic-flows (re)produces urban space. The study is based on ethnographic research conducted at Deonar, Mumbai- a marshy dump-site surrounded by a slum (Shivaji Nagar) of resettled communities displaced due to infrastructural development in other parts of the city. Around 1,50,000 waste workers are estimated to be informally associated with waste recycling economy in Mumbai and roughly 2000 are dependent on this dump for their livelihood. These ragpickers suffer from toxicity and pollution due to their proximity to the site.

A massive fire at the dump in January 2016 led to the ban of ragpickers resulting from sudden outrage of the middle class, gated communities, politicians against environmental pollution. This resulted in 'criminalization' of ragpickers by the state and increased surveillance and security. Eventually, the ragpickers resisted overtly or covertly to access the dump while organizing protests to claim their rights on 'waste' for survival. This event is used as a defining moment to 1. assemble complex interactions of multiple actors involved at the site, 2. unpack the dynamic accretions of flows, materials, practices and discourses. This reveals the micro-politics and ongoing socio-spatial struggles of inhabiting the city mediated by various material flows by deploying Lefebvre's 'Right to the city' approach. I also explore the different meanings of waste, contingent upon its location (Mary Douglas) which is based on notions of purity & pollution, inside & outside, clean & dirty which are culturally embedded

Panel P149
Wastescapes: spatial justice and inequalities in contemporary cities
  Session 1 Wednesday 15 August, 2018, -