Synopses & Reviews
When lives are dominated by hunger, what becomes of love? When assaulted by daily acts of violence and untimely death, what happens to trust? Set in the lands of Northeast Brazil, this is an account of the everyday experience of scarcity, sickness and death that centres on the lives of the women and children of a hillside "favela". Bringing her readers to the impoverished slopes above the modern plantation town of Bom Jesus de Mata, where she has worked on and off for 25 years, Nancy Scheper-Hughes follows three generations of shantytown women as they struggle to survive through hard work, cunning and triage. It is a story of class relations told at the most basic level of bodies, emotions, desires and needs. Most disturbing - and controversial - is her finding that mother love, as conventionally understood, is something of a bourgeois myth, a luxury for those who can reasonably expect, as these women cannot, that their infants will live.
Bringing her readers to the slopes above a modern plantation town, the author follows three generations of shanty-town women as they struggle to survive through hard work, cunning and trial. It is a story of class relations told at the basic level of bodies, emotions, desires and needs.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 567-587) and index.
About the Author
Nancy Scheper-Hughes is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her book Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland (California, 1979) received the Margaret Mead Award in 1981. She is the winner of the 2000 J. I. Stanley Prize of the School of American Research.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Sugar House
Introduction: Tropical Sadness
Chapter 1: O Nordeste: Sweetness and Death
Chapter 2: Bom Jesus: One Hundred Years Without Water
Chapter 3: Reciprocity and Dependency: The Double Ethic of Bom Jesus
Chapter 4: Delírio de Fome: The Madness of Hunger
Chapter 5: Nervoso: Medicine, Sickness, and Human Needs
Chapter 6: Everday Violence: Bodies, Death, and Silence
Chapter 7: Two Feet Under and a Cardboard Coffin: The Social Production of Indifference to Child Death
Chapter 8: (M)Other Love: Cultue, Scarcity, and Maternal Thinking
Chapter 9: Our Lady of Sorrows: A Political Economy of the Emotions
Chapter 10: A Knack for Life: The Everyday Tactics of Survival
Chapter 11: Carnaval: The Dance Against Death
Chapter 12: De Profundis: Out of the Depths
Epilogue: Acknowledgments and Then Some