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Urban Dwellers, Politicians And Dirt: An Anthropology Of Everyday Governance In Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso)

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Chapter Summary

The social, anthropological and political questions posed by the provision of a public urban-sanitation and waste-management service offer an excellent opportunity for the analysis of an everyday situation of urban governance. A social-anthropological study conducted over a period of two years in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso made it possible to identify and describe in detail the local actors involved in the area of urban sanitation, their concerns and interaction. This chapter focuses on a particularly interesting point that emerged from the study, i.e. the symbolic political legitimacy that the management of the urban public space by the services representing the municipal authority has for urban dwellers. The dirtiness of the city is a form of?clearly informal, but real?political opposition aimed directly at the concrete symbols close to the municipal power and its representatives. The reasoning is that if refuse creates dirt, then ?one can make use of it to dirty?.

Keywords: Bobo-Dioulasso; dirtiness; everyday governance; municipal power; Ouagadougou; public urban-sanitation; symbolic political legitimacy; urban dwellers; waste-management service



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