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    'I voted Bolsonaro for president': street vending and the crisis of labour representation in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

    Nogueira, Mara (2021) 'I voted Bolsonaro for president': street vending and the crisis of labour representation in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In: Monteith, W. and Vicol, D.-O. and Philippa, W. (eds.) Beyond the Wage: Ordinary Work in Diverse Economies. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press, pp. 233-253. ISBN 9781529208931.

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    The global decline in wage labor and the flexibilization of labor relations have been associated with growing job precariousness and narrowing gaps between work experiences in the North and South to the detriment of the former. Similarly, traditional forms of working-class political organisation are being dismantled, while new ones are emerging. In Brazil, the IBGE has estimated that 40.8 % (or 37.3 million people) of the total labour force was employed in the so-called “informal sector” in 2017. This trend is visible in the streets of the country, where many disadvantaged workers strive to make a living as street vendors. Although Brazil is recognised for having a progressive urban policy, the rights to the city of informal workers have been mostly ignored by the country’s legislation. This situation combined with the growing commodification of urban space has created increasing difficulties for marginalised urban populations, whose livelihoods are often depended upon their ability to access workspace. This paper focuses on the case of Belo Horizonte/Brazil, examining the role of the Workers’ Party in shaping local policies that restrict street vendors’ access to public space in the early 2000s. It traces connections between those earlier initiatives and current attempts to revitalise the city’s centre, which resulted in the forced eviction of workers from the area. Finally, the paper investigates how such local policies play a role on vendors’ perceptions of national politics, partially providing an explanation for their rejection of the PT and support for Bolsonaro in the 2018 federal elections. Book synopsis: Recent developments in the organization of work and production have facilitated the decline of wage employment in many regions of the world. However, the idea of the wage continues to dominate the political imaginations of governments, researchers and activists, based on the historical experiences of industrial workers in the global North. This edited collection revitalises debates on the future of work by challenging the idea of wage employment as the global norm. Taking theoretical inspiration from the global South, the authors compare lived experiences of ‘ordinary work’ across taken-for-granted conceptual and geographical boundaries; from Cambodian brick kilns to Catalonian cooperatives. Their contributions open up new possibilities for how work, identity and security might be woven together differently. This volume is an invaluable resource for academics, students and readers interested in alternative and emerging forms of work around the world.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Mara Nogueira
    Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2022 16:08
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:15


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