DOI: 10.1177/0308518x231214945 ISSN: 0308-518X

Bringing labor back: Financialized inclusion and survival struggles in the periphery of the periphery

Erica Souza Siqueira, Isleide Arruda Fontenelle
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development

This article examines how financial platforms address the value realization crisis within contemporary capitalism in “the periphery of the periphery.” Drawing from Marxist political economy, particularly in the context of its interpretation in peripheral spaces, we empirically studied the introduction of a digital microcredit platform in the living and working space-time of informal workers in Brazil’s periphery. Expanding on the household financialization literature, we scrutinize how this organization extracts value directly from living labor. Through dialectical analysis, we investigate how informal workers fearfully adhere to microcredit while cultivating invisibility practices, constituting forms of resistance against the advance of the microcredit platform. These workers’ labor-life narratives illustrate how credit adherence, while alluring, poses a threat to transform their lives, not only by leading to indebtedness but also by exposing the survival practices that enable their precarious existence on the fringes of the system, which we term “survival struggles.” These struggles manifest in the blurred boundaries between the center and the periphery, as well as between production and reproduction, creating an intersection between the concepts of survival and boundary struggles.

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