methodological appendix
The ethnographic fieldwork for this project was composed of four con-
tinuous months of observations and informal interviews on the out-
side of the Registro Nacional de las Personas (renaper) and twelve
months, divided in two periods of six months, of observations and both
formal and informal interviews in the waiting area of the welfare o≈ce.
Fieldwork was conducted during 2008 and 2009. At the renaper we
conducted only ten informal interviews, but one of the research assis-
tants went through the entire id application process along with other
foreign residents. At the welfare o≈ce we conducted eighty-nine inter-
views lasting between thirty minutes and two hours with welfare ap-
plicants and recipients, and ten interviews with social workers and
o≈cials who work at the welfare ministry. The revisit to Flamma-
ble included six interviews with residents, the recoding of fieldnotes
and interviews conducted for a previous project (Auyero and Swistun
2009), and conversations with current residents conducted by the au-
thor. Four research assistants collaborated in this project, Agustín Bur-
bano de Lara, Nadia Finck, Shila Vilker, and Regina Ricco. Agustín
conducted observations and interviews at the renaper and at the
welfare o≈ce. Nadia and Shila conducted observations and interviews
only at the welfare o≈ce. Shila also conducted interviews with welfare
o≈cials. Regina carried out the interviews in Flammable.
Fieldwork at the renaper and at the welfare o≈ce began with one
and a half months of unobtrusive observation. After we familiarized
ourselves with the routines—or the lack thereof—in the waiting lines,
we began to chat with those who, for lack of a better term, we called los
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