Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

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Univ of California Press, Oct 12, 2013 - Philosophy - 440 pages
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Zones of social abandonment are emerging everywhere in Brazil’s 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 Joćo 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.

An instant classic, Vita has been widely acclaimed for its bold fieldwork, theoretical innovation, and literary force. Reflecting on how Catarina’s life story continues, this updated edition offers the reader a powerful new afterword and gripping new photographs following Biehl and Eskerod’s return to Vita. Anthropology at its finest, Vita is essential reading for anyone who is grappling with how to understand the conditions of life, thought, and ethics in the contemporary world.


 

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A depressing story

User Review  - jenny477 - Overstock.com

I purchased this book for an anthropology class and reading it made me so depressed. Every little detail regarding the main character Catarina shows the sad truth about poverty in poor countries like Brazil. Read full review

Contents

Dead alive dead outside alive inside
1
A Zone of Social Abandonment
35
Brazil
46
Citizenship
56
Life of the Mind
71
Inequality
82
The House and the Animal
92
Public Psychiatry
123
Family Tree
292
A Lost Chance
307
Underneath was this which I do not attempt to name
313
Book XII
337
Book XIII
339
Book XIV
340
Book xv
341
Book XVI
342

Democratization and the Right to Health
130
Economic Change and Mental Suffering
138
Medical Science
146
Voices
159
Care and Exclusion
163
Ties
209
Ataxia
218
Her House
229
Brothers
235
Adoptive Parents
248
Pain
271
Value Systems
278
Book XVII
343
Book XVIII
346
Book XIX
348
A way to the words
353
I am part of the origins not just of language but of people
359
AFTERWORD
361
Return to Vita
365
Acknowledgments
399
Notes
403
Bibliography
413
Index
431
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

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

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