Laura Porras, University of Ottowa
My doctoral dissertation focuses on describing, understanding, analyzing and evaluating how both State and non-State legal regimes interact to influence the productive strategies of the most vulnerable workers (which I identify as rebuscadores) in Bogotá (Colombia). I have two main research questions. First, how can we better target and characterize the social grouping to whom the most vulnerable segment of the working poor in Bogotá belongs? My hypothesis is that categories such as precarious employment and informal work are not useful to target the most vulnerable. Therefore, I use an emergent category based on ethnographic work and Bourdieu’s work to argue that rebuscadores have similar volume and composition of overall capital, and they share a similar habitus that matches the social field called rebusque. Second, how do both State and non-State legal regimes interact to influence the productive strategies of rebuscadores in Bogotá? My hypothesis is that the vulnerability of the workers most in need is legally constructed and accentuated by the State. In other words, law is more implicated in the problem than in its solution.