4 kwietnia 2024

Weekly Research Seminar with Marie-Pierre Gibert (Université Lumière Lyon 2, France / Research Centre Environment-Ville-Société)

4 kwietnia 2024 | Karolina Dziubata

Weekly Research Seminar

Anthropology Department, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan


Glutton, Croissant & Treasure Hunt. Street cleaners’ satisfaction at work

Marie-Pierre Gibert

Université Lumière Lyon 2, France / Research Centre Environment-Ville-Société (EVS-UMR 5600 – CNRS)


According to their job description, street cleaners are expected to keep the streets and roads clean, as well as to report any problems or malfunction of the public space and street furniture. However, their work seems quite invisible from the outside and what is seen of it often appears in counter-relief: one seems to realise that they exist when their work is not done – or least seems not to be done. However, while conducting participant observation with street cleaners for several months, it appeared that what brings them satisfaction at work lays somehow on other dimensions than the ones visible in this job description. Among many, one underlines how much they appreciate interactions with various local actors, a dimension that they sometimes express as ‘bringing some social well-being to the public space’. Yet, regrets for not being recognized as such often crept in discussions. In this Seminar talk, I intend to explore various sources of job’s satisfaction as well as constraints, and reflect on the paradoxical (in)visibility of workers’ labour in the public space.


Marie-Pierre Gibert is Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at the University Lumière Lyon 2 (France), coordinator of the European joint Master Program in Anthropology “Cultural Differences and Transnational Processes” (CREOLE), and member of the research Centre Environment-Ville-Société (EVS-UMR 5600 – CNRS). Her doctoral research (EHESS, France) addressed the role of dance in the construction of identities, in a specific context which articulates diaspora and creation of a Nation-State (Israel). As a postdoctoral Research fellow at the University of Southampton (UK), she embarked in a collective project (U. of Southampton/ U. of Aberdeen/ AHRC) exploring transnational networks of musicians between Africa and Europe. Stemming from these different research projects, the questions of work, art and (public) space have become central in her current research. She is conducting fieldwork in various dance worlds (Israel, France, Greece), as well as with agents of waste management (France).

Her publications include the book Anthropologie du Travail (with A. Monjaret, 2021) and several articles in International Journals.