This paper comes from an ethnographic study developed inside the Núcleo de Defesa do Consumidor - NUDECON, located at Rio de Janeiro’s Public Defender’s Office during April and May 2013. The aim is to understand legal categorization as a social construct, considered both in context and in action. To do so, we explore the interactions that produce over-indebted individuals who will be legally protected by the public defenders. In other words, they will become legally sanctioned. We conducted direct observations of the preliminary hearings and of internal, routine discussions in which the office members discussed and decided if one is “categorizable” or not. We intended to empirically demonstrate the actors' interactional effort to reflexively build the social sense of law by connecting native frameworks from economic and moral bases.
Key words: Over indebtedness, social construction of law, NUDECON, interaction, legal categorization.
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