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At the cutting edge : precarious work in Brazil's sugar and ethanol industry

Garvey, Brian and Barreto, Maria Joseli (2016) At the cutting edge : precarious work in Brazil's sugar and ethanol industry. In: Neoliberal Capitalism and Precarious Work. E. Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 166-200. ISBN 9781781954942

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Abstract

The late geographer Milton Santos interpreted the changing Brazilian landscape as a dynamic social product of work, both past and present. What happened at each specific site was affected by previous practices and by their link to the globalized systems into which these sites were incorporated. 'Space', he wrote (1978, p.138), 'is a witness to a moment in the mode of production in these concrete manifestations; it is where some processes adapt themselves to pre-existing forms, while other create new forms that are inserted'. His words resonate across the swaying stands of sugarcane, blood red soils and cloudless skies surrounding the biofuel refinery in Brazil's Sao Paulo State where we base our study of precarious work in the production of sugar-derived ethanol.