The literature on dirty workers analysed material and symbolic aspects of work, highlighting how dirty workers deal with the stigma associated with their occupations. This approach put less attention on dirty workers who operate in the informal economy, which is a relevant category especially in some sectors, such as the urban-waste management and recycling. Drawing on a 2019–2022 qualitative study of waste pickers (WPs) in the Rio Grande do Sul state (Brazil), this article aims to understand whether and how the informal conditions interact with the symbolic and material aspects of the dirty job. First, it shows various attempts to redefine the meanings of waste pickers’ work, in a positive sense. The more articulated attempts mainly concern the more structured WPs organisations and, in some cases, go far beyond the strategies described by the traditional literature on dirty workers. Second, it emphasizes the importance of the relations between WPs organisations and public administrations in defining the effectiveness of the actions aimed at reducing the stigma associated with the WPs’ work. Together, these contributions highlight the utility of exploring the dynamics and the differences of informal dirty work in order to enrich the dirty-work approach.

Coletto, D., Carbonai, D. (2023). What Does It Mean to Have a Dirty and Informal Job? The Case of Waste Pickers in the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. SUSTAINABILITY, 15(3) [10.3390/su15032337].

What Does It Mean to Have a Dirty and Informal Job? The Case of Waste Pickers in the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Coletto, D
;
2023

Abstract

The literature on dirty workers analysed material and symbolic aspects of work, highlighting how dirty workers deal with the stigma associated with their occupations. This approach put less attention on dirty workers who operate in the informal economy, which is a relevant category especially in some sectors, such as the urban-waste management and recycling. Drawing on a 2019–2022 qualitative study of waste pickers (WPs) in the Rio Grande do Sul state (Brazil), this article aims to understand whether and how the informal conditions interact with the symbolic and material aspects of the dirty job. First, it shows various attempts to redefine the meanings of waste pickers’ work, in a positive sense. The more articulated attempts mainly concern the more structured WPs organisations and, in some cases, go far beyond the strategies described by the traditional literature on dirty workers. Second, it emphasizes the importance of the relations between WPs organisations and public administrations in defining the effectiveness of the actions aimed at reducing the stigma associated with the WPs’ work. Together, these contributions highlight the utility of exploring the dynamics and the differences of informal dirty work in order to enrich the dirty-work approach.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Brazil; dirty workers; identity; informal economy; waste management; waste pickers; working practices;
English
27-gen-2023
2023
15
3
2337
open
Coletto, D., Carbonai, D. (2023). What Does It Mean to Have a Dirty and Informal Job? The Case of Waste Pickers in the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. SUSTAINABILITY, 15(3) [10.3390/su15032337].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/402695
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