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AbstractThe article describes some new ways in which the Brazilian middle classes fit socially into the "world of neoliberalism". In recent years these layers of society have been prompted to believe that the traditional civil service job or, more recently, careers with large companies are no longer possible or desirable. These former pretensions have been replaced by the idea that franchising is the thing of the future. On the other side, the notion of "employability" has gained ground: through carefully thought-out career management and the accumulation of knowledge and skills, the agent can become "economically viable". In cognitive terms, the latter trend is the opposite of the former and gains stability through its negation. In analyzing the evidence, the author focuses on the historical antecedents and symbolic operations that work to lend the situation coherence. He also endeavors to identify connections with the economic sphere.