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Resource details

A paper life: Belgrade's Roma in the underworld of waste scavenging and recycling

Author(s): Simpson-Hebert, Mayling  |  Mitrovic, Aleksandra  |  Zajic, Gradamir  |  Petrovic, Milos

Publisher: WEDC
Place of publication: Loughborough University, UK
Year: 2005

Collection(s): Solid waste management  |  WEDC Bookshop

Price: £9.95
ISBN: 9781843800880


About 12,000 people in the city of Belgrade, Serbia scavenge solid wastes for a living. Most are Roma, formerly called Gypsies, who are the poorest of the poor. Their way of life is primarily a result of generations of discrimination in education and employment. Children begin scavenging at an early age and often never attend school. A Paper Life, based on interviews with over 200 people who collect solid wastes for survival, reveals in their own words their everyday lives, the types of wastes they collect, the dangers they are exposed to, the harassments they endure, as well as their desires for a cleaner and more orderly way of life. Hundreds of thousands of people scavenge in cities throughout Serbia and the Balkans.

This moving account is a wake-up call to city planners everywhere to remember those who make their living on the margins of society. The book will also be of great interest to anthropologists; sociologists; social workers; solid waste specialists; Roma scholars and activists; as well as university students of these subjects.

Low-income communities  |  Poverty  |  Refuse collection  |  Serbia  |  Solid waste management  |  Solid waste recycling  |  Waste pickers