This panel aims at questioning the encounters between the rural and the urban through the description of varied forms of occupation and conflictual uses of urban public areas by defilement behaviours, polluting activities and discards proliferation
In African towns, the diversity of public areas' use is a very good starting point to observe the encounters of the rural and the urban. This panel aims at questioning it through descriptions and analysis of the encounters between peasants and citizen habitus in the use of public areas. We want analysis of conflictual uses resulting from varied forms of public areas' occupations by informal activities generating litter, accumulating discards and multiplying scrapheaps. "Discards" includes here domestic rubbish, waste, sewage or mire but also abandoned rejects to be reutilized. The analysis of their discharge, accumulation or recycling in public areas may shed some light on unexpected social, economic, political and environmental stakes lying at the heart of urban governance and cohabiting in African towns. We would like to receive contributions on these matters and on the incivilities they generate. What does life and work on rubbish tips and urban scrapheaps reveal of the symbolic, economic and political conception of discards? How do refuse and sewage work as delimitating markers of the frontier between public and private areas and activities? How to relate continuing incivilities concerning litter and waste accumulation in public areas with urban governance? Conversely, what do citizen or civil society in order to face urban defaults and delinquencies and make up for it?
Brenda Chalfin (University of Florida)