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Social Science and Public Policy

CANCELED: Rethinking Informality: Waste, Market Exchange, and the Commodity-Form

April 7, 2020 at 12:30pm2:30pm EDT

Eggers Hall, 341

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This event has been canceled.


Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

South Asia Center


Waqas Butt, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto Scarborough

Rethinking Informality: Waste, Market Exchange, and the Commodity-Form

Waste materials in Pakistani cities put on full display how discarded commodities mediate desire and consumption under contemporary capitalism. This talk explores the kabāṛīan (junkyard owners) and bīopārīan (middlemen or brokers) as figures who accumulate waste materials through relations of exchange and indebtedness with waste workers and suppliers. In doing so, this talk explores the workings of informal economies, in which the commodity-form obscures the work performed by low or non-caste groups that reproduces urban life across Pakistan.

Please contact Emera Bridger Wilson at for any questions or concerns.

This event was first published on January 15, 2020 and last updated on March 12, 2020.

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