Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil

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University of California Press, 1993 - Social Science - 614 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

Sugar House
xi
Tropical Sadness
1
O Nordeste Sweetness and Death
31
Bom Jesus One Hundred Years Without Water
65
Reciprocity and Dependency The Double Ethic of Bom Jesus
98
Delirio de Fome The Madness of Hunger
128
Nervoso Medicine Sickness and Human Needs
167
Everyday Violence Bodies Death and Silence
216
Our Lady of Sorrows A Political Economy of the Emotions
400
A Knack for Life The Everyday Tactics of Survival
446
Carnaval The Dance Against Death
480
De Profundis Out of the Depths
505
Acknowledgments and Then Some
534
Notes
541
Glossary
557
Bibliography
567

Two Feet Under and a Cardboard Coffin The Social Production of Indifference to Child Death
268
MOther Love Culture Scarcity and Maternal Thinking
340

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About the author (1993)

Nancy Scheper-Hughes is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her many publications include two award-winning books published by California, "Death Without Weeping" (1992), and "Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics" (1979). Carolyn Sargent, author of "Maternity, Medicine, and Power" (California, 1989) and coeditor with Robbie Davis-Floyd of "Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge" (California, 1997), is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Women's Studies at Southern Methodist University.

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