Solidarity Economy and Family Dynamics of Recyclable Pickers: A View From the Science, Technology and Society Field


  • Letícia Dal Picolo Dal Secco-Oliveira Orcid
  • Maria Lúcia Teixeira Machado
  • Maria Zanin


As researches in the social psychology of work field indicate, workers are exposed to the subjective influences of their work environment, with the possibility of interinstitutional and systemic influences due to intersubjectivity. Economic-solidarity enterprises, having an organization and nature different from the capitalist companies and being considered as Social Technologies, from the perspective of the Science, Technology and Society research field, contribute to these influences, which include techniques, methods and products. As the family is one of the main belonging institutions to the persons, this study aimed to investigate the influences of economic-solidarity work relationships on the family dynamics of these cooperatives workers. The research field was the Cooperativa de Trabalho dos Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis de São Carlos [São Carlos Work Cooperative of Waste Pickers], São Paulo, Brazil, and the method used was thematic oral history. Fieldwork was carried out using participant observation techniques and semi-structured interviews with waste pickers and family members, which were transcribed for content analysis and transcriated for feedback to the research participants and validation of the information. Three main characteristics were observed permeating the interviews: that the economic-solidarity principles, even if not theoretically understood, when experienced in the work space, are potential to change people's behavior; that the organization of cooperative work positively influenced family dynamics; and that the cooperative organization was considered as a possibility for the economic inclusion of socially excluded people. The most prominent influences of economic-solidarity work relationships on family dynamics were the increased tolerance and cooperation in carrying out daily tasks and responsibilities.