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Cadernos de Psicologia Social do Trabalho

Print version ISSN 1516-3717


SANTOS, Paulo Henrique Faleiro dos  and  BARROS, Vanessa Andrade de. The servant condition in construction. Cad. psicol. soc. trab. [online]. 2011, vol.14, n.2, pp. 241-262. ISSN 1516-3717.

To understand the roots and the context in which discrimination at servants (attendant laborers) in construction is generated and reproduced, as well as their psychosocial implications. This was the guiding objective of a research developed through a case study. It's results and analysis embodies the present article. The work fits in the so-called Clinics of Labor, at the labor psychosociology perspective. The field of study was a small private company in the business of construction, situated in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. The research was divided into three stages: (a) preliminary studies, (b) ergonomic observations and interviews and (c) categorization of verbalization and structuring of the text. It was found a striking contradiction between the discourse addressed to the servant when speaking of his activity from the common sense and the speeches that come from analysis of the actual work of these professionals. Besides that, it was revealed that the condition embodies a set of characteristics treated as negative, which hinder the formation of a self-image and a positive identity by those who are marked by it. It was also found that the category of discrimination has an important political function (social control) by weakening and breaking down cohesion and collective organization. The study reveals the coexistence of sophisticated mechanisms of construction production and the placing of human beings into humiliating and/or degrading conditions, which is classified as ethically and morally untenable. It also suggests that the neglect of investments focused on human development, in the work context, reveals to be counterproductive, even under the profit logic. Finally, the considerations point to the need of overcoming the old social order and to create a new concept of work in our societies.

Keywords : Servant (attendant laborer); Construction business; Discrimination; Labor clinics.

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