chapter  8
14 Pages

Domestic Waste: Doing and Undoing the Compound

The compounds of Teri-Ku Dama as the locus of daily activities also act as open-air containers in which multiple forms of waste1 are sorted following local logic. Waste is transformed, recycled, or reused according to the degree of utility that is found in the materiality of the rubbish. Issues about waste in West Africa and in the Dogon region have been explored elsewhere (see, for example, Bouju & Quattara 2002; Bouju, Tinta, & Poudiougo 2004; Cissé 2007; Lane & Bedaux 2003). Here, I focus on cultural meanings of organic waste that are produced out of Dogon daily life practices that I contrast with other categories of waste that I have discussed in more detail elsewhere (Douny 2007a, b). I examine some of the multiple forms of rubbish in and around the Dogon compounds, which I conceive as being container devices for domestic matters. My overall objective is to show the implicit meaning objectified in both the materiality and the daily praxis of waste materials that people select and allocate to particular places and uses, or wash off or retain on their own bodies.