'We looked after people better when we were informal' : the 'quasi-formalisation' of Montevideo's waste-pickers
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Drawing on participatory research, this article explores the state formalisation of Uruguayan clasificadores (waste‐pickers). It goes beyond the informal/formal binary, instead proposing the concepts of ‘para‐formality’ to describe economic activity that exists in parallel to regulated and taxed spheres, and ‘quasi‐formality’ to describe processes of formalisation that are supported by underlying informal practices. When unregulated, clasificadores enjoyed parallel services in health, finance and social security, implying that benefits of ‘formalisation’ must be explored ethnographically rather than assumed. The persistence of ‘quasi‐formal’ activity within formalised recycling plants complicates simple narratives of informal to formal transitions and suggests that the concept can be useful for the study of labour policies in Latin America and beyond
O'Hare , P 2020 , ' 'We looked after people better when we were informal' : the 'quasi-formalisation' of Montevideo's waste-pickers ' , Bulletin of Latin American Research , vol. 39 , no. 1 , pp. 53-68 . https://doi.org/10.1111/blar.12957
Bulletin of Latin American Research
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Bulletin of Latin American Research published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the Society for Latin American Studies. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionThis article was written thanks to funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Code: ES/S011048/1).
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