Duke University Press, 2023 Cloth: 978-1-4780-1694-6 | eISBN: 978-1-4780-2421-7 | Paper: 978-1-4780-1958-9 Library of Congress Classification HT148.G4C43 2023
ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In Waste Works, Brenda Chalfin examines Ghana’s planned city of Tema, theorizing about the formative role of waste infrastructure in urban politics and public life. Chalfin argues that at Tema’s midcentury founding, a prime objective of governing authorities was to cultivate self-contained citizens by means of tightly orchestrated domestic infrastructure and centralized control of bodily excrement to both develop and depoliticize the new nation. Comparing infrastructural innovations across the city, Chalfin excavates how Tema residents pursue novel approaches to urban waste and sanitation built on the ruins of the inherited order, profoundly altering the urban public sphere. Once decreed a private matter to be guaranteed by state authorities, excrement becomes a public issue, collectively managed by private persons. Pushing self-care into public space and extending domestic responsibility for public well-being and bodily outputs, popularly devised waste infrastructures are a decisive arena to make claims, build coalitions, and cultivate status. Confounding high-modernist ideals, excremental infrastructures unlock bodily waste’s diverse political potentials.
Brenda Chalfin is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida and author of Neoliberal Frontiers: An Ethnography of Sovereignty in West Africa and Shea Butter Republic: State Power, Global Markets, and the Making of an Indigenous Commodity.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Illustrations vii Preface xi Acknowledgments xix Introduction. Infrastructural Intimacies: The Vital Politics of Waste in Urban Ghana 1 1. Assembling the New City: From Infrastructure to Vital Politics 45 2. Tema Proper: Infrastructures and Intimacies of Disrepair 96 3. The Right(s) to Remains: Excremental Infrastructure and Exception in Tema Manhean 133 4. Ziginshore: Infrastructure and the Commonwealth of Waste 181 5. Dwelling on Toilets: Tema's Breakaway Republic of Ashaiman 212 Conclusion. From Vital Politics to Deep Domesticity: Infrastructure as Political Experiment 268 Notes 295 References 315 Index 339
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