In between lived life and a social policy agenda: the Global South social question from the inside (Brazil)

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Isabel Georges Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France

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Tarcísio Perdigão Araújo Filho Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais, Brazil

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This article aims to demonstrate how gender, class, and race are intertwined at the micro level, addressing the interaction of lived life and social policy, through biographical interviews, in Brazil. Less interested in the analysis of inequalities per se, this article focuses on the way black, elderly, poor, female heads of families, living in urban neighbourhoods, manage to subjectively resignify objective domination. The in-depth biographical approach reveals the (re)construction of their subjectivity, defining personal sacrifice as a form of protagonism (agency) and empowerment. This process of resignification occurs by exchanging the unit of experience they relate to, from the individual to the family unit. It engages with social policies (social assistance, public health, and social housing) implemented by the latest Labour Party’s term of office (2003–2016). These policies are based on the role of women as responsible for the family unit. The focus on subjectivity, in different Brazilian metropoles, challenges the production of conformed neoliberal selves, in this case of women, within a specific Global South context, marked by historically high levels of inequality and informal work, since the formal end of slavery.

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Isabel Georges Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, France

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Tarcísio Perdigão Araújo Filho Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais, Brazil

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