Capitalizing community: Waste, wealth, and (im)material labor in Kampala

Jacob Doherty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Biomass briquettes have emerged as a development silver bullet, supposedly converting waste to wealth and tackling crises of unemployment, urban waste management, and rural deforestation. Briquettes have captured the imagination of international environmental NGOs operating in many African cities who promote briquette production, partnering with local Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to improve urban livelihoods and sanitation. Based on ethnographic research conducted in Kampala, Uganda, this article examines the entanglement of material and immaterial labor in the production of briquettes. The outcome of these production processes is to capitalize Community, transforming everyday socio-spatial relations into an agential entrepreneurial subject fit to receive aid and carry out development. This has the additional effect of exacerbating differences of gender and education within the CBO, alienating the CBO from the rest of Bwaise, and reproducing the racial hierarchies of the development economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Labor and Working-Class History
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019


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