“We Was Regenerated Out”: Regeneration, Recycling and Devaluing Communities
This article looks at well documented processes of urban regeneration and community displacement in the inner-city through an innovative anthropological perspective focused on concepts of waste and value. Using the notion of symbolic devaluation of the working classes developed by Skeggs (1997; 2004), it traces their exclusion from recycling practices while at the same time the estates they live on are being regenerated. Raising questions about the parallels and contradictions between regeneration and recycling, it shows how symbolic devaluation of specifi c areas and their inhabitants are necessary precursors of the physical demolition and removal that characterize regeneration processes. Through an ethnographic approach, the deep connections between people and their waste, and people as waste, are exposed and questioned, showing how valuable middle class selves are produced through appropriate waste management procedures, i.e. individualized recycling, while inner-city, estate dwellers are remade into uncaring, unworthy citizens who cannot take part in this value-producing circuit.
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