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Work and employment precariousness: a transnational concept? France and Brazil in a comparative perspective

Grant number: 16/08283-0
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: June 27, 2016 - August 11, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Nadya Araujo Guimarães
Grantee:Nadya Araujo Guimarães
Visiting researcher: Serge Jean Yves Paugam
Visiting researcher institution: Centre Maurice Halbwachs, France
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07616-7 - CEM - Center for Metropolitan Studies, AP.CEPID


The work plan being developed by Dr. Serge Paugam will focus on the transformation of the employment relations and labor conditions nowadays in an international and comparative perspective. This topic will be addressed in two ways. The first and most important one turns to the production of comparative analysis in partnership. To this end, the stay of Dr. Serge Paugam will allow to complete, along with the host researcher, Dr. Nadya Araujo Guimarães, a new paper entitled "The precariousness of work and employment:. A transnational concept? Comparing France and Brazil". The paper will circulate in a special issue of the Italian journal Sociologia del Lavoro in 2016. Its main argument can be resumed as follow. In France and, more generally, in European societies, precariousness has become a dominant theme in the research on the changing world of work and wage society. He renewed the approach of inequality. It refers to two dimensions: work precariousness - increased production and new report to work - and insecure employment - labor contract flexibility and instability status. The heuristic value of this concept was quickly recognized, which explains its spread beyond the borders of Europe. In Latin America, the sociologists use it increasingly to describe the situation in their country. The generalization of this concept proves problematic, however, if we forget the historical particularities that give the precariousness its structural form and meaning for individuals. This concept was developed in France and Europe in reference to a labor society decaying. Can we really transpose mechanically in emerging countries - that we cannot compare to a labor society - in which we nevertheless observed a progressive formalization and extension of wage labor. The precariousness of employment, within the meaning of the crisis of the labor society today seems unreal in countries like Brazil, since the wage society itself struggling to find its mark. To check if the concept of precariousness can be used at a transnational level, it is first necessary to consider the effect of economic and social policy cycles on the construction of representations of wage labor. These cycles are different in different cultural areas. In Brazil, in the period of strong economic growth in 2004-2012, there was a sharp increase in the quota of formal workers and the development of intermediate work. But the notion of job insecurity also needs to be revisited. The new production methods seem to cause more suffering at work. Are they similar from one country to another? A comprehensive critical review is needed. Article will mobilize comparative data and will rely in particular on a series of surveys conducted in Brazil as well as in France. A second goal to be pursued as a result of this work plan is to train students at the University of São Paulo PhD Program, and in particular to enhance the theoretical skills of the young researchers associated to the team coordinated by Dr. Nadya Araujo Guimarães as part of the project on "Labor market, policies and opportunities", a research supported by FAPESP/CEPID Program, she conducts at the Center for Metropolitan Studies-CEM, CEBRAP. (AU)