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Dirty work

garbage disposal men at work
Photo: privat
Is garbage disposal "Dirty Work"?

When we talk about “dirty work” we refer to jobs that society views as “dirty” or tainted. However, a modern society would not work without people doing such jobs, for example, people collecting garbage, cleaning office buildings, or burying the dead.

We are particularly interested in finding out whether employees in so called “dirty work” actually perceive a societal stigma, and whether this perception impairs their identification with their jobs as well as their well-being. We further investigate which strategies employees in such occupations use to protect themselves from the potentially negative effects of being stigmatized.


Dr. Dana Unger, ETH Zürich