Silvia Sanchez Tappan
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationKansas, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9843
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleSánchez, Silvia (Kansas, U. of) "Building Landscapes of Urban Segregation: A Multi-Sited Ethnography among Construction Workers in Guatemala City"
This research investigates the articulation of emerging forms of employment in Guatemala City’s construction industry. Following neoliberal restructuring, Ladino workers who used to be formally employed by the state have become self-employed independent contractors, while dispossessed indigenous migrants increasingly seek employment in the construction industry as low-skilled day-workers. Though these transformations might seem unrelated, productive relations within the construction industry may well be integrated within a functioning division of labor. How has neoliberal restructuring transformed labor relations in Guatemala City’s construction industry? How do emerging forms of employment coexist with, stimulate, or reinforce one another? How do independent contractors and day-workers experience and understand the different working conditions and spatial boundaries they encounter? To answer these questions, I will follow the lives of independent contractors and low-skilled construction workers in Guatemala City over 12 months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork. This project will enhance anthropologists’ ability to compare the embodied experiences of multiple laborers across time and space, to theorize the mutual constitution of urban segregation and working-class formation, and to consider the uneven character of contemporary labor relations. It will also inform development agencies’ proposal of investing in the professionalization of construction workers in Guatemala.