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Deux "petits métiers" au coeur de la ville : éboueur, balayeur. Comment supporter le "sale travail" ?

Abstract : There are, in the "business world", some high-valued jobs, linked with prestige, and some, like waste management people and city streets sweepers jobs, that are depreciated, labelled with discredit, so those representations make it highly difficult to create and keep a positive professional, social and personal self-image. And with good reason, urban cleaning services agents do a disdained job, especially by reason of the closeness with filth, the lack of college degrees and diplomas, the low perspective of getting a higher work status and also the nature of the job, exposing the workers to several laborious tasks. The central and main hypothesis of our work is that the image built by the waste management people and city streets sweepers of their job and therefore of themselves is always rearranged, tinkered about, fixed, made up in order to be bearable. Quite clearly, our primary hypothesis is widely supported by the fact that urban cleaning services agents, even if they are at the bottom of the social prestige ladder, assume their everyday life. Those agents are able to develop a large series of strategies - by words or by acts - to block the attacks. Thus, even filth, foul smell and laborious tasks become bearable because they have been adapted, adjusted, fitted. Garbage men and sweepers have found in their jobs the resources they needed to "disidentify" themselves from an identity too heavy to assume. This is how the calendars and the « fini-quitte » ("done-go") seem to be some valuable basis for a positive self-image or, at least, an easier one to assume for the waste management agents. For the sweepers, the use of machines and the fact they are part of the public service are elements making them keep the job. As depreciated as the job of garbage man and sweeper is, as laborious as the situation is, as despicable as the way people look at them is, urban cleaning services agents are able to do an intellectual work allowing them to fight back - with words and/or actions - to negociate/deal with the stigmata, to "save face" and to build a quite bearable self-image.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 12:42:05 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01750272, version 1



Marine Béguin. Deux "petits métiers" au coeur de la ville : éboueur, balayeur. Comment supporter le "sale travail" ?. Sociologie. Université de Lorraine, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013LORR0244⟩. ⟨tel-01750272⟩



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