Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Sara SAPUPPO, Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy)

The aim of my study is to assess how the building of new landfill sites influences people’s perception and behavior with respect to the “cultural landscape”. The analysis of an ethnographic case study, conducted in Mekelle (Tigray, Ethiopia), reveals how people’s habits and feelings change and how they become socialised towards nature. The waste management service introduces new interactions with space. Plots of land are chosen and adapted to community needs, with the result that a new relationship with nature and with space develops. Focusing on these issues, I conducted a study analyzing the influence of the presence of a landfill site on Mekelle society and the local administration, on the roles of the workers involved and on the relationship with the area in question. In particular, I emphasise how environmental awareness has developed in recent years, how the landfill site influences people’s perception of waste management, as well as some of the potential downsides. In this context of action and reconfiguration, the voice of tradition also influences the multiple meanings of the landscape. This ethnographic study prompts us to think again about how the configurations and identity of a territory are formed.