João Guilherme Biehl is Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, Biehl has written two books in English: Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment (University of California Press ) and Will to Live: AIDS. Biehl, Joao (). Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment. University of California Press. Vita is an experience that grows more meaningful. João Biehl’s Vita brilliantly and originally integrates these seemingly separate domains. Vita ensnares the reader in Brazil’s intricate web of entrenched social.

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Absolutely one of best ethnographies I’ve ever read. As Biehl demonstrates, this nationwide phenomenon intensified bieyl emergence of socially marginalized and decaying areas such as Vita. This haunting, unforgettable story centers on a young woman named Catarina, increasingly paralyzed and said to be mad, living out her time at Vita.

It’s much less jargony than other anthropology texts, while retaining a theoretical and academic rigor.

João Biehl

Ethnographic Investigations University of California Press. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. These books are ethnographic studies of the experience and treatment of mental illness and AIDS, respectively. Erica rated it really liked it Mar 18, I recognize its problems. He showed an early interest in education, entering the first grade and completing grade school a year earlier than most other children in Novo Hamburgo.

The contacts with Catarina’s immediate family allow Biehl to conclude that she “had become a leftover in a domestic world, viya the negative value, the unnecessary component of a migrant and urban poor culture” Oct 13, Nutsa rated it it was amazing.

His point is not always entirely clear. For those interested in Foucault, biopower,biopolitics, governmentality, zones of exception, bare life. Each part is broken down into a number of entitled sections and accompanied by several jao of Vita and its occupants and of Catarina and her immediate family.


It is not very reproducible.

Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment is a well-researched study with a fine balance between theoretical discussions and thorough fieldwork, offering a complex and original insight into the dynamics of social abandonment in contemporary Brazil. Had to walk away from this book in amazement many bkehl, either to cry or to talk about it with the person nearest me.

More importantly, Biehl facilitates Catarina’s telling of her own story, which, viat the stories of all those consigned to social death, need to be heard.

Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Biehl’s thought provoking study not only renders visible the ivta experiences of the vvita individual s at the asylum, but also shows the impact of social, political and cultural aspects of Brazil that further deepen the desolation of the poor as well as perpetuate the infringement of basic human rights. Biehl uses the example of a single woman to explore gendered medical policy, family structure and psychology in Brazil.

After completing high school he began studying journalism and theology at two different academic institutions, along with Greek and German, church history, philosophy and systematic theology in Porto Alegre.

Paperbackpages. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The third part, “The Medical Archive,” narrates Biehl’s search for and examination of Catarina’s medical files at different psychiatric institutions, revealing the inadequate and not careful mental health treatment misdiagnoses and unnecessary medication she received.

It will change your brains. Jan 07, Laura added it. Alyssa Robinson rated it really liked it Dec 13, Mar 29, Bri rated it really liked it Shelves: My favorite ethnography this year, Biehl’s person-centered ethnography is historical, political and personal. Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment is divided into six lengthy parts.

I didn’t find him. A spectacular examination of social death and exclusion in a Brazilian “zone of abandonment.

Very frustrating to read What the hell, Joao? Biehl grew up in the favelas outside of the town of Novo Hamburgo in Southern Brazil after migrating from the colonial interior with his parents and sister at the age of 4. Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment is a study of the increasing prevalence of urban places in appallingly inhumane conditions that house the social outcasts of contemporary Brazil. But I will still attempt in the future.


Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

Kristen Ghodsee rated it really liked it Aug 02, Demonstrates so clearly the ways in which psychiatry, hospitals, and family interact and collude to alienate and exclude defective or troublesome persons.

Kenyu rated it really liked it Jul 07, Dec 30, Brittney Sanderson rated it it was amazing. To ask other readers questions about Vitaplease sign up. No trivia or quizzes yet. One of the most beautiful and devastating ethnographies I’ve ever read.

He has also been a guest lecturer at more than 50 different universities around the world. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

Vita by João Biehl – Paperback – University of California Press

Biehl refers to such [End Page ] places as “zones of social abandonment” 2that is, places that lack medical and governmental attention and are ultimately treated as behl sites for the ill, the impoverished, the mentally challenged, the jobless, and the homeless.

I also think he does a fantastic job of tracing what forces affected Catarina’s life and how multiple parties influenced and altered the course of life.

This could have been strengthened however with joo inclusion of the quotes, [End Page ] interviews and Catarina’s writings in Portuguese.