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Precarity as labour exploitation : the limits of job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil

(2018)
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Abstract
This paper explores the links between precarity and labour exploitation in the context of the rising job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil. Drawing on interviews with sugarcane cutters, it examines the despotic and coercive forms of labour control put to use by employers by means of threats, law violations, abuses, penalties, harassment and wage cuts. Our findings illustrate that while the apparent consent to labour exploitation may be explained by workers seeking the securities and protections of a formal employment relationship, workers are also engaging in everyday forms of resistance, discontent, contestation and solidarities to cope with precarious jobs and secure their well-being. It thus argues that these often hidden, individual forms of workers’ agency disclose a criticism to the precarity of formal jobs in Brazil. This paper concludes that contrary to standard assumptions on formal employment enhancing fairness and dignity at work, especially in the context of peripheral capitalism where workers’ voice has been largely ignored, job formalisation has been insufficient to protect workers from precarity understood as exploitation.
Keywords
sugarcane cutters, plantations, depotism, exploitation, resistance, Brazil

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Souza Queiroz, Allan. “Precarity as Labour Exploitation : the Limits of Job Formalisation in the Sugarcane Plantations of Northeast Brazil.” 2018. Print.
APA
Souza Queiroz, A. (2018). Precarity as labour exploitation : the limits of job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil. Presented at the 36th International Labour Process Conference.
Chicago author-date
Souza Queiroz, Allan. 2018. “Precarity as Labour Exploitation : the Limits of Job Formalisation in the Sugarcane Plantations of Northeast Brazil.” In .
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Souza Queiroz, Allan. 2018. “Precarity as Labour Exploitation : the Limits of Job Formalisation in the Sugarcane Plantations of Northeast Brazil.” In .
Vancouver
1.
Souza Queiroz A. Precarity as labour exploitation : the limits of job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil. 2018.
IEEE
[1]
A. Souza Queiroz, “Precarity as labour exploitation : the limits of job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil,” presented at the 36th International Labour Process Conference, Buenos Aires, 2018.
@inproceedings{8577975,
  abstract     = {This paper explores the links between precarity and labour exploitation in the context of the rising job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil. Drawing on interviews with sugarcane cutters, it examines the despotic and coercive forms of labour control put to use by employers by means of threats, law violations, abuses, penalties, harassment and wage cuts. Our findings illustrate that while the apparent consent to labour exploitation may be explained by workers seeking the securities and protections of a formal employment relationship, workers are also engaging in everyday forms of resistance, discontent, contestation and solidarities to cope with precarious jobs and secure their well-being. It thus argues that these often hidden, individual forms of workers’ agency disclose a criticism to the precarity of formal jobs in Brazil. This paper concludes that contrary to standard assumptions on formal employment enhancing fairness and dignity at work, especially in the context of peripheral capitalism where workers’ voice has been largely ignored, job formalisation has been insufficient to protect workers from precarity understood as exploitation.},
  author       = {Souza Queiroz, Allan},
  keywords     = {sugarcane cutters,plantations,depotism,exploitation,resistance,Brazil},
  language     = {und},
  location     = {Buenos Aires},
  title        = {Precarity as labour exploitation : the limits of job formalisation in the sugarcane plantations of Northeast Brazil},
  year         = {2018},
}