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From “cartoneros” to “recolectores urbanos”. The changing rhetoric and urban waste management policies in neoliberal Buenos Aires

Geoforum, August 2013, Vol.48, pp.187-195 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    From “cartoneros” to “recolectores urbanos”. The changing rhetoric and urban waste management policies in neoliberal Buenos Aires
  • Author: Sternberg, Carolina Ana
  • Found In: Geoforum, August 2013, Vol.48, pp.187-195 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Neoliberal Urban Governance ; Urban Waste Management ; Informal Economy ; Cartoneros ; Urban Recuperators ; Buenos Aires ; Sciences (General) ; Environmental Sciences ; Geography
  • Language: English
  • Description: This study contributes to the existent literature on neoliberal urban governance examining the process-based character of this formation. I maintain that neoliberal governance is a fluid and evolving formation which is continuously being constructed and reconstructed beneath a rhetorical veneer of inevitable emergence and permanence. In this context, this work examines the interconnections between neoliberal urban ascendancy, changing rhetoric and urban waste management policies, and waste pickers ( ), in a case study setting, Buenos Aires. Since 2002, the neoliberal urban governance in Buenos Aires (its institutions, programs and policies) has mobilized different rhetoric and policies to negotiate the waste pickers’ “disturbing” and “dirty” presence in the streets. In that process, the waste pickers, originally marginalized and stigmatized by the neoliberal discourse, have been regulated and disciplined into legal and “well behaved” workers. I would argue that, regulating this activity does not entail giving the waste pickers an opportunity to become central actors in the future of urban waste management in the city. Rather, it is compatible with the logic of the local neoliberal urban projects, focused on disciplining the city’s physical and social landscape as new opportunities for growth and development continue to emerge.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0016-7185 ; E-ISSN: 1872-9398 ; DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.04.029

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