The Promise of Diversity

How Brazilian Brand Capitalism Affects Precarious Identities and Work

Nicolas Wasser


Nicolas Wasser critically examines how sexual and racial identities are currently being articulated through capitalist brands and labor. On the basis of an ethnographic case study about a Brazilian fashion enterprise, he shows how young – lesbian, gay and black – sales employees align themselves with the ambivalent promises put forward by diversity management. Their affective labor, the study argues, is at the center of new and globally unfolding regimes of the precarious. Readers will thus find a rich sociological account from the Global South on how neoliberal logics of self-optimization both traverse and fuel the aspirations of the minoritized.

This book is based on a dissertation in sociology and anthropology (PPGSA-IFCS) at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, examined by Prof. Dr. Bila Sorj (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and Prof. Dr. em. Andrea Maihofer (Universität Basel).