Eugênia de Souza Mello Guimarães Motta

Eugênia Motta is a researcher at the Center for Research on Culture and Economy (NuCEC: responsible for coordinating a collective research project in the Complexo do Alemão, a group of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. She has a post-doctorate fellowship from FAPERJ (Foundation for Research Support of Rio de Janeiro) based on the National Museum’s Graduate Program in Social Anthropology (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). She is a consultant/advisor at the Raízes em Movimento Institute, based in the Complexo do Alemão neighbourhood.

Her current research project in the Complexo do Alemão has two main strands. The first concerns the ordinary economic practices in the favela and their connections to family practices, gender issues, and both imagined and physical constructed spaces. The second reflects on recent public interventions (urbanization projects and so-called ‘pacification’) seen in terms of their resonances in the daily life of inhabitants.

She obtained her master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the National Museum in 2004 with a dissertation entitled “The ‘other economy’: an ethnographic view of Solidarity Economy” and in 2010 received her doctorate from the same institution with the thesis “Trajectories and transformations in the world of Solidarity Economy”. In this works she describes the world of people and institutions united by the common belief that ‘another economy’ is possible: a world whose borders intermingle with those of other relatively independent social spheres, including the academy, the NGO universe and the State. One of the objectives of the thesis was to analyze the statistical construction of the Solidarity Economy. The so-called ‘Mapping of the Solidarity Economy’ was approached from multiple ethnographic perspectives and through the practices of agents as diverse as State professionals and specialists, the interviewers, and the interviewees.

The research project about the Solidarity Economy and the current project in the Complexo do Alemão both involve close relationships with organizations committed to defending people’s rights. Between 2005 and 2011 she worked as a researcher at IBASE (Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analysis), an NGO dedicated since the early 1980s to producing information on socially relevant issues for social movements and governments. It was as a professional at this institution that she first began to establish ties with local organizations in the favela, which have been further strengthened over recent years. Being a professional closely involved with organizations working in the social world under study, and sometimes in the area of public policy, means it is crucial to reflect on these relations and their role in the production of ethnography, an issue central to her doctoral thesis.

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