Manuel Rosaldo’s research focuses on the potentials and constraints for labor rights organizing among precarious informal workers, who have historically been excluded from both labor rights legislation and labor unions. He recently completed a PhD at the University of California at Berkeley, where his dissertation analyzed waste pickers’ struggles to win state recognition and remuneration for their labor in Brazil and Colombia. This project was the product of 22 months of ethnographic research, which was funded by ten major research grants including the Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, The Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, The Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy Grant.
Manuel’s broader research and teaching interests include labor, development, social movements, state-society relations, and Latin American politics. He is currently starting a new research project that explores the nexus of informal work and climate change through comparative analysis of waste pickers, street vendors, and home-based producers in South America. He also holds a Master’s in Global Affairs from New York University, where he wrote a thesis on the debate over the commercialization of microfinance based on field research in southern Mexico. His undergraduate thesis at Wesleyan University analyzed binational family relations between immigrant janitors in Connecticut and the family that they left behind in Mexico, Peru, and Chile. Previously, he has worked as an organizer and researcher for the UNITE HERE! and SEIU labor unions, and as an editor for a social change media organization.