Recognition and Public Policies: Analyzing the Relations between Scavengers and Public Power in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Maria Cecília Gomes Pereira, Marco Antonio Carvalho Teixeira


This article debates the dynamics of the scavengers’ struggle in Belo Horizonte and its consequences reverted in specific public policies for this social group. We start from the idea of social struggle and conflict, going through the debates related to the struggle for recognition, by Axel Honneth. As a research method, we have adopted the case study analysing the period from 1987 to 2010. Deep interviews and spontaneous talks were conducted. For the analysis, the methodology of reading narratives was used. In the narratives, different forms of disrespect regarding scavengers and their claims to local governments were found, resulting in the construction of a specific public policy to support their work. Along the years, the policy has been modified and has recently been inflected, increasing the conflicts between the public power and the scavengers, denoting the challenges of the relation between government and civil society in the conduction of the public policy.

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Public Administration Research  ISSN 1927-517X  (Print)  ISSN 1927-5188  (Online)  Email:

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