Date Thesis Awarded

4-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Global Studies

Advisor

Andrea Wright

Committee Members

Negar-Sadat Razavi

Stephen Sheehi

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of formally-employed sanitation workers, called muzbil, and self-employed scavengers, known as mikhala, in Meknes, Morocco's waste management process, and how their social statuses impact the perceived success of waste collection and recycling. While often seen as piecemeal, the interconnected processes of waste management and recycling between the formal and informal sectors constitute a relatively complete sanitation service. Mainstream discourse in Morocco highlights the role of the formal sanitation sector—that is, work legally contracted by the government—in providing municipal waste collection and recycling, often to the exclusion of informal labor. However, examining the practices of the mikhala, who re-sell what is thought of as “trash,” elucidates that their work is also integral to Meknes’ ability to control its solid waste. Ultimately, these workers form a relatively complete waste and recycling program in a city with fragmented collection infrastructures. Situating muzbil and mikhala within larger narratives of colonial legacies, globalization, and authoritarian power sheds light upon the forces that breed precarious social conditions leading to these modes of work in Meknes.

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