Remains of long-drop lavatories built for the "closer settlement camp" of Frankfort, Eastern Cape. The 5,000 members of the black farming community of Mgwali were to have been forcibly removed and resettled here after their land was declared a "black spot" by the apartheid government in 1983. However, the people of Mgwali resisted strongly and in 1986 the removal scheme was dropped. The lavatories were gradually stripped of their usable building materials by people in the area and all that is left now are concrete bases over some 1500 anatomically shaped holes in the veld. 22 February 2006. Photo and text by David Goldblatt

Remains of long-drop lavatories built for the “closer settlement camp” of Frankfort, Eastern Cape. The 5,000 members of the black farming community of Mgwali were to have been forcibly removed and resettled here after their land was declared a “black spot” by the apartheid government in 1983. However, the people of Mgwali resisted strongly and in 1986 the removal scheme was dropped. The lavatories were gradually stripped of their usable building materials by people in the area and all that is left now are concrete bases over some 1500 anatomically shaped holes in the veld. 22 February 2006. Photo and text by David Goldblatt

Royal Geographical Society/ Institute of British Geographers
Annual International Conference 2013
London
August 28-30, 2013

Organiser: Deljana Iossifova, University of Manchester

This session aims to bring together research related to one of the most perturbing issues for growing and developing cities of the Global South and their existing and future residents: attitudes toward excretion.

Excretion-related cognition, perception and behaviour in cities remain understudied despite the obvious importance of these factors for the provision of appropriate urban sanitation: available ethnographic studies reveal that urban interventions aimed at the sanitation of the city and orchestrated at different levels of governance hardly ever match the needs of (poor) urban residents and often disregard the significance of sanitation-related conditions for the mental and physical health of individuals. Differences in defecation practices of social groups often result in negative attitudes toward and in the avoidance or rejection of those who choose or are forced to defecate in the open, determining the eventual inclusion or exclusion of individuals and groups. Albeit frequently associated with development, success and the higher social status of owners, rapidly spreading conventional flush and discharge systems may not only be unaffordable, but also environmentally unsustainable for reasons of water scarcity or frequently underdeveloped treatment facilities in cites of the Global South  important factors to consider in the transformation of the built environment under conditions of depleting resources and climate change. These are just some of the emerging topics around urban sanitation which require the urgent attention of scholars and practitioners alike.

The session will use excretion-related cognition, perception and behaviour in rapidly transforming cities of the Global South as an axis to link wider debates around the individual and the social, around private perceptions and public policy, as well as around the multitude of other connected yet seemingly remote dimensions of urbanity, urban development and urban life  be they gender, class or poverty; governance and infrastructure; or social, economic or ecological sustainability. Papers will contribute directly to knowledge in human geography and may cross disciplinary boundaries with, for instance, urban anthropology and social/environmental psychology. They will advance efforts to provide appropriate and sustainable sanitation and management systems for current and future urban residents based on a thorough understanding of their attitudes and needs.

Please send an abstract of not more than 250 words to Deljana Iossifova deljana.iossifova[at]manchester.ac.uk by 5.00pm on Friday 8th February.

Deljana Iossifova
University of Manchester
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/deljana.iossifova/