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Vita

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Vita Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Zones of social abandonment are emerging everywhere in Brazils big cities—places like Vita, where the unwanted, the mentally ill, the sick, and the homeless are left to die. This haunting, unforgettable story centers on a young woman named Catarina, increasingly paralyzed and said to be mad, living out her time at Vita. Anthropologist João Biehl leads a detective-like journey to know Catarina; to unravel the cryptic, poetic words that are part of the “dictionary” she is compiling; and to trace the complex network of family, medicine, state, and economy in which her abandonment and pathology took form.

As Biehl painstakingly relates Catarinas words to a vanished world and elucidates her condition, we learn of subjectivities unmade and remade under economic pressures, pharmaceuticals as moral technologies, a public common sense that lets the unsound and unproductive die, and anthropologys unique power to work through these juxtaposed fields. Vitas methodological innovations, bold fieldwork, and rigorous social theory make it an essential reading for anyone who is grappling with how to understand the conditions of life, thought and ethics in the contemporary world.

Synopsis:

"João Biehl's Vita is a greatly arresting work. The tale of Catarina is one that haunts the reader. This book's central character is sure to become an anthropological classic, her humanity reaffirmed by the author."—Arthur Kleinman, author of Writing at the Margin: Discourse between Anthropology and Medicine

About the Author

João Biehl is Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. Torben Eskerod is an artist and works as a freelance photographer in Copenhagen. His website is www.joaobiehl.net.

Table of Contents

Introduction: “Dead alive, dead outside, alive inside”

PART ONE. VITA

A Zone of Social Abandonment

The Politics of Death

Citizenship

PART TWO. CATARINA AND THE ALPHABET

The Life of the Mind

A Society of Bodies

Brazil

Ex-Human

The House and the Animal

“Love is the illusion of the abandoned”

Social Psychosis

An Illness of Time

God, Sex, and Agency

PART THREE. THE MEDICAL ARCHIVE

A Deadening Language

Schizophrenia

The Right to Health and Psychiatric Reform

Life Determinations

Catarina and Medical Science

No Human Relations

Dead Voices

The House of Mental Health

The Model City

An Epidemic of Mental Illness

“I am like this because of life”

The Typical Symptom

Pharmaceutical Abandonment

PART FOUR. THE FAMILY

Unused Words

A Medical Visit

Semblance

The Fraternal Tie

The In-Laws and Ex-Husband

A Family Business

The Pharmakos

Temporality

PART FIVE. BIOLOGY AND ETHICS

Reason

Jurisprudence and Morality

Currency

The Biological Complex

The Family Tree

A Genetic Population

A Lost Chance

PART SIX. THE DICTIONARY

“Underneath was this, which I do not attempt to name”

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

Book VII

Book VIII

Book IX

Book X

Book XI

Book XII

Book XIII

Book XIV

Book XV

Book XVI

Book XVII

Book XVIII

Book XIX

Conclusion: “A way to the words”

Postscript: “I am part of the origins, not just of language, but of people”

Acknowledgments

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520242784
Subtitle:
Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment
Author:
Eskerod, Torben
Author:
o
Author:
Biehl, Jo&amp
Author:
Jo
Author:
Biehl, Jo?o
Author:
Biehl, Joao
Author:
&
Author:
Biehl, Jo
Author:
atilde
Author:
o Biehl
Author:
Jo&amp
Author:
Biehl, Jo o
Publisher:
University of California Press
Subject:
Brazil
Subject:
Marginality, Social
Subject:
Latin America - South America
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Vita (Asylum: Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Subject:
Institutional care - Brazil - Porto Alegre
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
World History-South America
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050627
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 b/w photographs
Pages:
404
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in 28 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Central and South America
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » South America

Vita
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Product details 404 pages University of California Press - English 9780520242784 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"João Biehl's Vita is a greatly arresting work. The tale of Catarina is one that haunts the reader. This book's central character is sure to become an anthropological classic, her humanity reaffirmed by the author."—Arthur Kleinman, author of Writing at the Margin: Discourse between Anthropology and Medicine
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