Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Brazil Initiative

Moises Lino e Silva - A Conversation in a Dentist's Chair: Employment, Marginality and Freedom on the Borders of a Brazilian Favela

Moises Lino e Silva Lecture

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

6:00pm – 7:30pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

This presentation addresses a couple of questions once posed by a dentist who practiced just across the street from Favela da Rocinha (Rio de Janeiro): “There is something about Rocinha that I do not understand myself. I am the owner of this clinic. Most workers here come from Rocinha, right? It turns out that none of these workers are interested in full-time and long-term employment. They work for a little while and then they want to leave. People do not want to work. Seriously, they prefer to stay out of formal work in order to have more free time!” In this talk, Professor Lino e Silva furthers the conversation on alternative forms of work that take place in the daily life of people living in a large Brazilian shantytown. He challenges taming narratives regarding the fundamental necessity of full-time employment for the life of the so-called “urban poor”. Is there a necessary link between unemployment and marginality in favelas? What social fractures are exposed when favela dwellers refuse to engage in formal working relations with the upper classes? What is the liberating potential of alternative employment arrangements for a more sustainable urban future?