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.
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This event was published on January 15, 2020.