WEAVING A TRADE CIRCUIT FROM THE NIGHT MARKET: BRAZILIAN POPULAR FASHION AGENTS

André Vereta Nahoum About the author

Abstract

This article analyses the work of clothing item retailers that distribute goods sold at the Night Market (Feira da Madrugada), located in the central São Paulo region (SP) around the country. It discusses the subjective meanings attributed to this activity and the set of specific skills required to weave this circuit. To this end, it employs ethnography and interviews conducted in the region. By distributing goods and popular fashion symbols, shopkeepers and sacoleiras (traveling saleswomen) also produce meaning for their personal trajectories, revealing a sense of dignity and fulfillment in relation to the trading activity, dependent on the mastery of a set of skills and local knowledge, far beyond the generic calculus capabilities described by contemporary economic sociology. These practices challenge the representations pointed out in the literature for female engagement in self-employment and for traveling merchants in general.

Keywords:
Informal markets; Self-employment; Occupational identity; Female occupation; Fashion

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