The right to shine: Poverty, consumption and (de) politicization in neoliberal Brazil

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Title: The right to shine: Poverty, consumption and (de) politicization in neoliberal Brazil
Authors: Pinheiro-Machado, RosanaScalco, Lucia Mury
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Date: 22-Apr-2022
Online since: 2022-08-05T09:32:56Z
Abstract: This article discusses the political impacts on the poor’s subjectivity provoked by neoliberal policies such as inclusion through consumption in 21st century Brazil. From 2009 to 2014, we carried out ethnographic research with new consumers in a low-income neighbourhood – Morro da Cruz – in the city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. We argue that consumption does not necessarily depoliticize human experience, as it is broadly assumed to have done in the scholarly literature on neoliberalism. In a society in which the poor has obtained goods through hierarchical and servile relationships, the possibility of buying things provides a micro sphere for recognition, though not in terms of classic collective action or even hidden subversion. Coupled with the momentum towards a national ‘economic emergence’, status goods became vehicles of an emergent subjectivity, which we conceptualize as ‘the right to shine’. The right to shine are subtle forms of class and racial self-worth, and individual and interpersonal empowerment that revealed interclass defiance.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: SAGE
Journal: Journal of Consumer Culture
Start page: 1
End page: 19
Copyright (published version): 2022 The Authors
Keywords: ConsumptionPoliticsNeoliberalismPovertyBrazil
DOI: 10.1177/14695405221086066
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
ISSN: 1469-5405
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