Goldsmiths - University of London

Untangling Translocal Urban Textures of Trash: plastics and plasticity in Addis Ababa

Knowles, Caroline. 2017. Untangling Translocal Urban Textures of Trash: plastics and plasticity in Addis Ababa. Social Anthropology, 25(3), pp. 288-300. ISSN 0964-0282 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Dirt is never an isolated event: ‘where there is dirt there is a system’ MaryDouglas (2004:44) incisively declared. But rather than being the byproduct of a systematic ordering, I argue that dirt is one of the places
where urban assemblages and lives, of an improvised and ad hoc kind, are rigged together. Not matter out of place then, but matter making place. In this paper I explore the analytic potential of trash as a lens onto city making, and conclude that it is one of the mechanisms generating the distanciated and hyperlocal social textures of urban social morphology. Picking through the social morphologies of trash on the Koshe Landfill site on the fringes of Addis Ababa, I trace some of its local and translocal social textures.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):



translocality, urbanism, trash, lifeworlds, plastic

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3 September 2016Submitted
15 January 2017Accepted
4 August 2017Published Online

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Date Deposited:

03 Jan 2017 12:14

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2017 14:13

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/19414

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