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Dr. Raquel Rojas Scheffer

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut



Akademische Ausbildung

  • Dr. phil. im Fach Soziologie, Freie Universität Berlin, 2019.
  • M.A. Sozialwissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2014.
  • Spezialistin in Sozialwissenschaften – Fachrichtung Sozialentwicklung, FLACSO Paraguay, 2011.
  • B.A. (Licenciatura) Sozialwissenschaften, Universidad Nacional de Asunción (Paraguay), 2009.


Akademischer und beruflicher Werdegang

  • Gastdozentin, Soziologie, Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien, Freie Universität Berlin, 2022-2023
  • Post-Doktorandin, Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien, Freie Universität Berlin, 2021-2022.
  • Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Drittmittelprojekt “COVID-19 Crisis and Social Inequalities in Three Paraguayan Border Cities”, Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, 2021-2022.
  • Junior Fellow, Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America (Mecila), 2021.
  • Doktorandin am Internationalen Graduiertenkolleg (DFG) "Zwischen Räumen. Bewegungen, Akteure und Repräsentationen der Globalisierung", Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, 2016-2019.
  • Assoziierte Wissenschaftlerin, Centro de Estudios y Educación Popular Germinal (Forschungs- und Bildungszentrum Germinal), Asunción (Paraguay), seit 2008.


Fellowships, Stipendien und Förderungen

  • DFG Projektförderung "COVID-19 Krise und soziale Ungleichheiten in drei paraguayischen Grenzstädten", 2021-2022.
  • Postdoktorandenstipendium, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), 2021.
  • Niveau I Forscherin, Nationaler Rat für Wissenschaft und Technologie Paraguay, seit 2018.
  • DAAD Stipendium für Ausland- und Kongressreisen, 2018.
  • Stipendium des International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) für Teilnahme am 18. ILERA Weltkongress in Seoul, 2018.
  • Stipendium des Internationalen Geistwissenschafliches Kolleg “Arbeit und Lebenslauf in globalgeschichtlicher Perspektive” der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, für Teilnahme an der Sommerakademie “Labour, Rights and Mobility” in Buenos Aires, 2017.
  • Forschungsaufenthalt, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social und El Colegio de México, Mexiko-Stadt, 2017.
  • Fellowship am Internationalen Graduiertenkolleg "Zwischen Räumen. Bewegungen, Akteure und Repräsentationen der Globalisierung", DFG-Stipendium, 2016-2019.
  • DAAD Stipendium, Masterstudium an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2012-2014.

Mitgliedschaften und berufliche Funktionen

  •  Redaktionsausschuss der Zeitschrift REVICSO - Revista del Insitituto de Ciencias Sociales, seit 2022.
  •  APS - Paraguayische Vereinigung für Soziologie, seit 2022
  •  FG DeKolonial e.V. - Fachgesellschaft für rassismuskritische, postkoloniale und dekoloniale Theorie und Praxis, seit 2021
  •  CLACSO - Lateinamerikanischer Rat für Sozialwissenschaften, Arbeitsgruppe Arbeit, Produktionsmodelle und soziale Akteure, seit 2021
  •  LASA - Lateinamerikanische Studienvereinigung, Sektion Arbeitswissenschaft, seit 2019
  •  RITHAL - Internationales Forschungsnetzwerk zur Haushaltsarbeit in Lateinamerika, seit 2018
  •  Assoziierte Forscherin am ICSO - Instituto de Ciencias Sociales, Asunción - Paraguay, seit 2015.
  •  Assoziierte Forscherin am Centro de Estudios y Educación Popular Germinal, Asunción - Paraguay, seit 2008.

Gutachterin für die folgenden Zeitschriften

  •  Current Sociology
  •  Latin American Research Review (LARR)
  •  Novapolis

Nicht-akademische Erfahrungen

  • Generaldirektorin, Fundación Casa de la Juventud, Asunción (Paraguay), 2011-2012.
  • Allgemeine Koordinatorin, Fundación Casa de la Juventud, Asunción (Paraguay), 2009-2011.


  • Soziale Ungleichheit
  • Gender- und Intersektionalitätsforschung
  • Arbeitssoziologie
  • Care- und Hausarbeit
  • Soziale Bewegungen
  • Politische Soziologie


Laufende Forschungsprojekte

Consequences of the Covid-19 crisis on Social Inequalities and Convivial Relations in Three Paraguayan Border Cities

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), 2021-2022

The research project explores how the COVID-19 pandemic and its containment measures have affected different convivial spheres (family, neighborhood, public spaces) and dynamics of production and reproduction of social inequalities in the three most important border cities of Paraguay: Asunción (the capital city), Ciudad del Este, and Encarnación. These are the main crossing points between Paraguay and its biggest border countries (Argentina and Brazil), however, the level of integration and interrelation of these cities with their foreign neighbors varies widely. While Ciudad del Este's economy relies heavily on border trade and a large part of its population depends economically on “shopping tourism”; Asunción, despite being an important entry port for products to the country, does not depend on tourists crossing from Argentina to keep its economy running. Encarnación, for its part, occupies an intermediate position. Border trade is highly relevant, but the city is also well integrated with its rural surroundings, and the agro-industrial sector has an important weight in its economy. Along these lines, the impact that border closures have had on the economy and convivial interactions in these cities differs from one case to the other.

The project combines a quantitative approach (survey) and a qualitative one (focus groups), allowing to identify different impacts of the containment measures regarding factors such as gender, social stratum, ethnicity, and region. By focusing on Paraguay, the project enables a deeper understanding of how people in countries with high levels of inequality, elevated degrees of informality and lack of social security were affected by Covid-19 containment measures, and how the population organized to cope with these difficult circumstances. The collection of the data a year after the impositions of mobility restrictions will allow assessing the socioeconomic consequences in the mid- and longer run. The results will not only offer a description of the situation in the selected cities but will also make it possible to compare how the closure of borders affected their inhabitants, inviting further discussions of different models of integration in border regions.


The social organization of care and the COVID-19 crisis:

On conviviality and inequality within (and between) households

Förderung: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Mecila: Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America, 2021.

In most Latin American countries, the upper- and middle classes tend to meet their care needs through the market, resorting to options such as private schools and care centers, or the labor of domestic workers. However, these practices were affected by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and its containment measures. Drawing on a series of interviews with employers of domestic workers in Asunción (Paraguay), this project analyzes the changes in convivial relations and arrangements regarding the distribution of care within households that outsource domestic chores and had to adapt to lockdown measures. By doing so, I seek to highlight not only changes in the routine and time use of family members, but also the exacerbation of inequalities regarding the social organization of care and the discourses provided for justifying and naturalizing these inequalities. I argue that decisions on the distribution of responsibilities that confinement measures transferred to households might seem a private issue, but they are inextricably linked to social structures, being affected by and having a repercussion on them.


Abgeschlossenes Promotionsprojekt

Entangled Inequalities and Network Building. Organizational Experiences of Paid Domestic Workers in Uruguay and Paraguay        

Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Sérgio Costa (FU Berlin), Prof. Dr. Barbara Fritz (FU Berlin)

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Internationales Graduiertenkolleg „Zwischen Räumen“, 2016-2019

The research focused on paid domestic workers’ organizations in Uruguay and Paraguay, more specifically, the networks they build with different types of actors within and across national borders. Analyzing data from interviews, participant observations, press articles and documents produced by the workers’ organizations and their allies, the study reconstructs the development of domestic workers’ organizations and the introduction of their claims into the political agenda on a national level from 2005 onwards, which linked them to a broader transnational context.

The analytical framework establishes a dialogue between literature on social movements and social inequalities. Drawing on the characteristics and specificities of domestic work, the research discusses how structural and contextual particularities shape the organizational experiences of domestic workers. More specifically, it analyzes how the entanglements of different axes, dimensions and scales of inequality that cut across this occupational field shape the networks they build, their interventions, and the way in which they present their claims. Different perspectives are thus combined in order to address questions about the interaction between actors’ agency and limitations of the social structure.

I argue that the confluence of inequalities in the experience of domestic workers has an ambivalent effect on them, oscillating between discrimination and political agency. These relations of inequality have an impact on the involvement of different actors in their network of activism, affecting the dynamics within the network as well. In this sense, the differences among actors do not disappear when a coalition is formed, but they remain present although the (re)production of inequalities can be mitigated or subverted. The contrasting of different cases (Uruguay and Paraguay) highlights that, although the general dynamic is the same – inasmuch as inequalities that cut across domestic work tend to originate in the same regimes – it takes place in a context with its own characteristics, and each particular sounding board makes the same chords resonate with different tones depending on the interpretation of the local actors.

Begutachtete Zeitschriftenartikel und Buchkapitel

2022. “Building Networks, Bridging Divides? Organizational Experiences of Paid Domestic Workers in Uruguay and Paraguay”, in Katja Hujo and Maggie Carter (Eds.) Between Fault Lines and Front Lines: Shifting Power in an Unequal World, London: UNRISD/Bloomsbury Academics, 209-225.

2022. “Cercanía física, distancia social. Trabajo doméstico remunerado y (des)encuentros en hogares de América Latina”, in Mecila (Ed.) Convivialidad-Desigualdad: explorando los nexos entre lo que nos une y lo que nos separa, Buenos Aires: CLACSO; San Pablo: Mecila, 477-521.

2021. Same Work, Same Value? Paid Domestic Workers' and Housewives' Struggles for Rights in Uruguay and Paraguay. In Current Sociology 69(6), 843-860 (ISSN 0011-3921)

2021. "Essential yet undervalued. Paid domestic work, migration, and the struggles for labor rights in Uruguay and Paraguay", in Ximena Alba and Bruno Miranda (Eds.) Migrant Labor in Global Chains, Berlin: Tranvía, 177-200 (ISBN 978-3-946327-28-8)

2020. Sin relación aparente. Partidos Políticos e Ideología en Paraguay. In POSTData 25(2), 487-518 (ISSN N 1515-209X; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2020. Vínculos afectivos y necesidades materiales. La práctica clientelar en Paraguay. In Revista electrónica de estudios latinoamericanos e-l@tina 18 (70), 1-20 (ISSN 1666-9606; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2020. Movimiento estudiantil secundario y empoderamiento de mujeres en Paraguay, Revista OLAC-Obseratorio Latinoaemericano Caribeño Vol. 4 (2), 190-209 (co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2020. Desencuentros y conflictos entre actores colectivos en la industria paraguaya. In Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas-UNNE Argentina 25(2), 127-137 (ISSN 1668-6365; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2019. De Asunción a Ginebra: Trabajo doméstico remunerado y redes de activismo laboral en Paraguay. In Giros espacio-temporales: Repensando los entrelazamientos globales desde América Latina, edited by Diana Marisol Hernández Suárez, Luis Aguirre, Carolin Loysa, Brenda Macías Sánchez and Joanna Moszczynska. Berlin: Walter Frey, 47-64 (ISBN 978-3-946327-16-5).

2018. Paraguay como eslabón en la cadena de valor mundial. Construcción de un marco analítico para estudiar relaciones laborales en tiempos globalizados. In Revista Novapolis 14, 35-58 (ISSN 2077-5172)

2018. Entre la tradición y el afecto: La identificación partidaria en Paraguay. In Revista Novapolis 13, 11-42.

2016. El diálogo social tripartito en Paraguay, 25 años de intentos y escasos éxitos. In Revista Novapolis 10, 117-140 (co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2015. Interpretando el ‘Nuevo Rumbo’. Elementos para evaluar el proceso de reestructuración del modelo socioeconómico paraguayo impulsado por el Gobierno de Horacio Cartes. In Revista Novapolis 9, 77-108 (co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2015. Por su propio bien. Condicionalidad y la imagen de la población pobre en políticas sociales. In Revista Novapolis 8, pp. 73-101

2014. Programa de Transferencias Monetarias Condicionadas: ¿Puerta de entrada a derechos sociales? Un análisis a partir del Programa Tekoporã. In REVICSO Vol. 1, 37-57. (ISSN/ISBN: 2409-1189)


2020. Relaciones Laborales en la Industria Paraguaya. Cambios y continuidades en tiempos globalizados. Asunción: Arandurã (ISBN: 978-99967-997-2-3; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2019. Luchas de Estudiantes. El Renacer del Movimiento Estudiantil Secundario y el Nuevo Liderazgo Femenino 2013-2017. Asunción: Arandur. (ISBN: 978-99967-972-0-0; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2018. Correligionarios. Actitudes y Prácticas Políticas del Electorado Paraguayo. Asunción: Arandurã (ISBN: 978-99967-10-02-5; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)

2017. Diálogo Social, Contratación Colectiva y Tripartismo en Paraguay. Asunción: Arandurã (ISBN: 978-99967-53-60-2; co-authored with Marcello Lachi)


Working Papers

2020. Physically Close, Socially Distant. Paid Domestic Work and (Dis-)encounters in Latin America’s Private Households. In Mecila Working Papers Series No. 27. São Paulo: MECILA.

2020. Articulating Differences and Inequalities. Paid Domestic Workers’ and Housewives’ Struggles for Rights in Uruguay and Paraguay. In Mecila Working Papers Series. No. 21,São Paulo: MECILA.

2020. Sindicalismo Paraguayo y Participación de Mujeres. Avances y Desafíos. In Trabajo y Justicia Social, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (SBN 978-987-4439-47-5)

2018. Entangled Inequalities and Network Building: Organizational Experiences of Paid Domestic Workers in Uruguay and Paraguay. In UNRISD Conference Papers. Geneva: UNRISD.

2015. El programa de Transferencias Monetarias Condicionadas Tekoporã en Paraguay: ¿Lucha contra la pobreza y desigualdad o por espacios de poder politico. In Derecho en América Latina, ¿corrector o (re)productor de desigualdades?Working Paper desiguALdades.net No. 81, edited by Manuel Góngora Mera, Sérgio Costa, Guilherme Leite Gonçalves, 160-179.


Wissenschaftliche Vorträge

Network Building and Ethnic Divides. Organizational Experiences for Paid Domestic Workers in Uruguay and Paraguay. Delivered at the International Conference Care-Migration-Gender. Ambivalent Inter-dependencies from a Transdisciplinary Perspective organized by the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies and the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in Berlin on January 31st, 2019.

Entangled Inequalities and Network Building. Organizational experiences of Paid Domestic Workers in Uruguay and Paraguay. Delivered at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Conference: Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization, in Geneva on November 9th, 2018.

Building networks, bridging divides. Organizational Experiences of Paid Domestic Workers in Uruguay and Paraguay. Delivered at the 18th International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) World Congress, in Seoul, South Korea, on July 25th, 2018.

2017. Paid Domestic Work: Entangled Inequalities and Organizational Experiences in Uruguay and Paraguay. Delivered at the Summer Academy Labour, Rights and Mobility organized by the International Research Center - Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 3rd, 2017.