Cristina Teixeira Marins

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, U.

Grant number

Gr. 10566

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Marins, Cristina (Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, U.) "“Hyperconnected and Hoping for the Best”: alternative work, digital platforms, and social change in Brazil"

Alternative work arrangements, such as informal, autonomous, self-employed, and gig work, have been the historic norm in many countries of the Global South, including Brazil. Despite governmental efforts to foster industrialization, a substantial share of the Brazilian workforce has never had access to social protections associated with traditional employment contracts. This project examines what happens to this population, typically low-income, informal workers who live in impoverished urban areas, when digital platforms become pervasive in contemporary society. Based on longitudinal ethnographic research conducted over the past decade, the project argues that workers from various segments of the service sector, which have long existed in Latin America, are now deeply dependent on digital platforms to earn a living. By discussing how these pervasive technologies have reshaped the lives of workers in Rio de Janeiro, this research invites us to re-examine key assumptions about precariousness and platformization of labor. The ethnographic evidence has the potential to extend beyond anthropology, influencing public debate and policymaking. This is a proposal to complete a book manuscript that documents the drastic economic, social, and political consequences stemming from the encounter between socioeconomic struggles in a peripheral capitalist society and algorithm-driven companies based in Silicon Valley.