This paper discusses how low-income families perceive the meaning of child labor. It points out the ambiguous moral vision that supports the decision made by the older generation to postpone the entrance of their children in the labor market. Such decisions can be explained, at least partly, by the deep transformations in mentalities that have followed the genesis of the perception of children as "human beings in formation" and founded the transformation of child labor into an illegal and socially illegitimate practice. Nevertheless, our study shows that the ambiguities noted may also be explained by the social history of the generations focused, which is, mainly, the history of the transformations that have taken place, these last decades, in the productive structures and in the legal and spatial organization of Brazil.
Education and inequality; Socialization; Generations; Child labor