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Accepted Paper:

"Thrown away to be seen": urban domestic waste, regimes of public visibilities and the spatialization of social inequalities in Palermo (Italy).  
Ferdinando Fava (University of Padova/LAA-LAVUE UMR 7218 CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

Urban domestic waste in Palermo is related to different regimes of public visibility. From the rubbish on the streets to its media representations, these regimes work as a medium that legitimizes municipal urban policies. However, at the same time they create boundaries among marginal urban areas.

Paper long abstract:

The aim of this paper is analysing the micro social logics through which the urban domestic waste becomes the medium that creates symbolic and topographic boundaries of a marginal urban area: the ZEN neighbourhood of Palermo (Sicily, Italy). Drawing on my ethnographic fieldwork and on the analysis of its past and contemporary media representations, as well as institutional discourses, my paper will illustrate how in a "dirty" city (how Palermo is generally considered) urban waste becomes a spatial "index" of the social distance of the residents of one of its neighbourhoods and an essentialising icon of their subjectivities. To use some Peircian categories, this process of semiosis incessantly transforms the visible urban waste disposal, in and around the neighbourhood, into icons of its residents. Otherwise, it conceals the multiple social processes that would differently account the actual location of the rubbish as an index. In Palermo, urban domestic waste is embedded in different regimes of visibility , from the sensory rubbish in the streets to its public media representations (for example, the company that manages waste collection in Palermo has recently invited citizens to photograph the rubbish to map it in an interactive website). Then, the disposal, the collection, and the treatment of urban waste in Palermo becomes the "analyseur" of larger multiple political and economic processes that need these different economies of visibility. In conclusion, these regimes legitimize the local waste management and its policies but, at the same time, they spatialize the social inequalities of the ZEN.

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