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Does the "new Brazilian middle class" go to heaven?

Grant number: 11/23106-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): August 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal researcher:Leda Maria Paulani
Grantee:Ludmila Costhek Abílio
Home Institution: Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade (FEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/57112-7 - Politics and social classes in neoliberal capitalism , AP.TEM


The two terms of president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva have presented a significant change in the social stratification of Brazilian society defined on income criterion. Reduction of powerty rates has allowed the public reference to a "new middle class", which is defined by the increasing of the so called class C. This research proposal takes part in the currently rare studies that focus on criticizing this definition of "new middle class" (such as SOUZA, 2010 and QUADROS, 2008a e 2008b). In this way, it proposes the investigation of the Brazilian social mobility, and, more specifically of the constitution of this "new middle class" - as it has been recurrently presented. Therefore, the investigation has as main goals: to research the changes in the social stratification in its relation with labor exploitation; to analyze the constitution of a dominant speech engendered in the academic mainstream and in the official government speech about the current Brazilian development. The analysis is guided by the desappearance of labour as the main element in the recognition and definition of the social classes. The investigation has three diferent lags: 1) bilbiographical revision about the definition of middle class; 2) research of the academic and official publications about the "new middle class"; and 3) empirical research with motorcycle couriers - the motoboys - in the city of São Paulo. These professionals nowadays constitute part of the cathegory of "drivers responsible for merchandise delivering", which is among the largest ocupations of the stratum defined as "class C" or "new middle class".

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