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Trajectories of youth low-wage workers in the contemporary labor market

Grant number: 12/21367-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2013
Effective date (End): April 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Administration - Business Administration
Principal Investigator:Maria Ester de Freitas
Grantee:André Luis Silva
Host Institution: Escola de Administração de Empresas (EAESP). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This thesis aims to discuss the phenomenon of the "new Brazilian middle class", through an empirical qualitative study within the area of the organizational studies. The starting point of the study is the following problematic question: how the Brazilian economic growth, occurred over the past decade, impacted the trajectories and living conditions of low-income workers? The main research objective is to investigate what changes occurred in the trajectories of low-income youth workers who migrated, over the past decade, to the so-called "new Brazilian middle class". The methodological approach is empirical-qualitative and constitutes a primary search strategy: reconstruction of narrative biographies through interviews. We have the participation of 42 young workers within the intended cut. The data were interpreted with the help of the content analysis technique. The theoretical lens used to interpret the data was interdisciplinary constituted by the contributions of critical, economic and labor sociology, as well as the organizational studies contributions. The results indicated that the lives of young workers are better now than in the past. However, their lives not only enshrine changes. There are also many permanencies, either because they still reside in peripheral areas; use the public transport and health services; or carry out the cultural/leisure activities like those waged in the past; which is not consistent with the scope of the life style of a conventional middle class group. Therefore, we conclude that the reproduction of the idea of a "new Brazilian middle class" is much more the desire of their creators to point the achievement of desired social reality to Brazil, than the consolidation of their power in the daily lives of the young Brazilian workers. Thus, the discourse on the "new Brazilian middle class" is a lot more perform the illusion of its creators, than actually the empirical finding that the improvements in terms of income and power consumption were able, by itself, definitely transform the lives of young Brazilian workers and thus Brazil in a middle-class country. (AU)

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