Jacinto Cuvi


Welcome to my site.

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut de Sociologie of the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. I received my PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 and I hold a master’s degree in comparative politics from Sciences Po Paris. I am based in the US during the Fall 2019 semester.


I study informal labor and politics in large cities of the Global South. I am interested in how the state shapes the lives of informal workers and how informal workers participate in the polity. I did my dissertation fieldwork in São Paulo, Brazil.

In my current book project, I analyze the role of hope in structuring the relationship between disenfranchised laborers and the state. Drawing on a historical case study of the ties between street vendors and the Workers’ Party (PT), I trace the transition from old-style populist politics and clientelistic practices to new ways of governing disenfranchised groups in the current era.

Peer-reviewed publications

2019. “Symbolic Capital, Informal Labor, and Postindustrial Markets: The Dynamics of Street Vending during the 2014 World Cup in São Paulo.” Theory & Society, 48(2), 217-238. Accepted manuscriptversion of record. 

2019. “The Peddlers’ Aristocracy: Social Closure, Path-Dependence, and Street Vendors in São Paulo.” Qualitative Sociology, 42(1), 117-138. Accepted manuscriptversion of record.

2016. “The Politics of Field Destruction and the Survival of São Paulo’s Street Vendors.”Social Problems, 63(3), 395-412. Accepted manuscript, version of record.

2015. “Santos: The Gold Hunter” in Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City, edited by Javier Auyero, pp. 42-58. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Project website.

Service to the discipline

I was a member of the organizing committee of the 2019 Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association. As part of this, I organized a panel with Craig Calhoun and Noortje Marres on the future of sociology. The video is now available on YouTube.


British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)

Swiss National Science Foundation Doc.Mobility Fellowship, $ 35,000

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, $ 10,279

Foundation for Urban and Regional Research Studentship, $17,500

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Latin America, $24,000

Ministère Français des Affaires Etrangères et Agence pour l’Enseignement Français à l’Etranger (AEFE) Bourse d’Excellence et Bourse Major, $75,000


jacinto.cuvi [  at  ] unine.ch