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Musical Entrepreneurs and the Cultural Politics of Inequality in Northeastern Brazil
May 2 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Presented by Dr. Falina Enriquez, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, UW-Madison
About the presentation: This presentation will summarize the recently published book, “The Costs of the Gig Economy: Musical Entrepreneurs and the Cultural Politics of Inequality in Northeastern Brazil” (2022, University of Illinois Press). The book draws on years of ethnographic study to compare the lives of music professionals who work in various traditional and contemporary genres. These artists and cultural workers have increasingly had to become more entrepreneurial due to specific cultural policies, market pressures, and, more generally, the normalization of temporary, unstable gig work. The book reveals that ostensibly neutral market solutions–and the ideologies that uphold these–reinforce and generate overlapping racial and class-based inequalities. While these processes and their effects are relevant in Recife, they are nonetheless linked to socioeconomic and cultural conditions that are shaping the lives of many people around the world.
About the presenter: Falina Enriquez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Trained as a cultural and linguistic anthropologist, she received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Dr. Enriquez studies music and language as an ensemble, one that sheds light on how people construct the world and emplace themselves—and others—within it. This anthropological perspective is also in dialogue with other disciplines, including ethnomusicology, Latin American studies, and cultural studies. Since 2009, Dr. Enriquez has focused on the cultural politics of music in Recife, Brazil, a city long known as a uniquely musical place. Through this ethnographic research, her work has examined how various kinds of people practically, artistically, and politically respond to socioeconomic processes like neoliberalism, precarity, and structural inequality. She addresses these issues in her book, “The Costs of the Gig Economy” published in 2022 by the University of Illinois Press. Her work has also appeared in journals, including Current Anthropology and Luso-Brazilian Review, and in edited volumes, such as Precarious Democracy: Ethnographies of Hope, Despair and Resistance in Brazil, published in 2021 by Rutgers University Press.