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Flexible Work, Rigid Politics: The Nexus Between Labour Precariousness and Authoritarian Politics in The Global South (Brazil, India, Philippines)


This project will investigate the nexus between labour precariousness and authoritarian politics in Brazil, India, and the Philippines (BIP). At the beginning of the 2000s, emergent economies were promising global democratic powers. Yet, democratic consolidation faces significant challenges as BIP nations elect populist authoritarian politicians. The understanding of such a process remains fragmented or limited to a global North repertoire. This project proposes a framework that examines emerging economies’ development contradictions, namely economic growth that fostered new aspirational classes amidst labour precariousness. Several figures show that emerging classes supported authoritarian politicians in the BIPs. We interrogate why and how this occurs. A key problem in the scholarship on radical right supporters is to rely exclusively on reactionary emotions of anger, hate, resentment, and nostalgia in contexts of impoverishment and recession. In contexts of growth, reactive emotions must be understood alongside active drivers of aspirations and self-fulfilment stimulated by the entrepreneurial ideal. An innovative combination of intensive ethnography and extensive data sciences will analyse the ideological nexus between precarious platform workers’ and authoritarian politicians’ values in the BIP countries. Simultaneous 14-month ethnography in each country and data mining aim to scrutinise confluences and divergences between the two axes. This comparative research looks at how political subjectivity and aspirations are culturally and technologically shaped in different countries and platforms. The research team will explore two intertwined phenomena: (a) the sociological roots related to platform labour precariousness that makes this converge possible (sense of authenticity, isolation, individualism, competitiveness, entrepreneurial spirit), and (b) the technological infrastructure that promotes and reconfigures interactions between the two axes.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 998 711,00
4 Dublin

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Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00