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Vita : Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment,9780520242784

Vita : Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

by
ISBN13:

9780520242784

ISBN10:
0520242785
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
6/1/2005
Publisher(s):
Univ of California Pr
List Price: $31.95
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Summary

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. As Biehl painstakingly relates Catarina's 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 anthropology's unique power to work through these juxtaposed fields. Vita'smethodological 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.

Author Biography

Joao Biehl is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Dead alive, dead outside, alive inside" 1(34)
PART ONE. VITA
A Zone of Social Abandonment
35(11)
Brazil
46(10)
Citizenship
56(15)
PART TWO. CATARINA AND THE ALPHABET
Life of the Mind
71(4)
Society of Bodies
75(7)
Inequality
82(3)
Ex-Human
85(7)
The House and the Animal
92(7)
"Love is the illusion of the abandoned"
99(3)
Social Psychosis
102(6)
An Illness of Time
108(3)
God, Sex, and Agency
111(12)
PART THREE. THE MEDICAL ARCHIVE
Public Psychiatry
123(3)
Her Life as a Typical Patient
126(4)
Democratization and the Right to Health
130(8)
Economic Change and Mental Suffering
138(8)
Medical Science
146(5)
End of a Life
151(8)
Voices
159(4)
Care and Exclusion
163(8)
Migration and Model Policies
171(8)
Women, Poverty, and Social Death
179(8)
"I am like this because of life"
187(5)
The Sense of Symptoms
192(7)
Pharmaceutical Being
199(10)
PART FOUR. THE FAMILY
Ties
209(9)
Ataxia
218(11)
Her House
229(6)
Brothers
235(5)
Children, In-Laws, and the Ex-Husband
240(8)
Adoptive Parents
248(9)
"To want my body as a medication, my body"
257(8)
Everyday Violence
265(6)
PART FIVE. BIOLOGY AND ETHICS
Pain
271(3)
Human Rights
274(4)
Value Systems
278(4)
Gene Expression and Social Abandonment
282(10)
Family Tree
292(5)
A Genetic Population
297(10)
A Lost Chance
307(6)
PART SIX. THE DICTIONARY
"Underneath was this, which I do not attempt to name"
313(8)
Book I
321(1)
Book II
322(5)
Book III
327(1)
Book IV
327(3)
Book V
330(1)
Book VI
331(2)
Book VII
333(1)
Book VIII
334(1)
Book IX
335(1)
Book X
335(1)
Book XI
336(1)
Book XII
337(2)
Book XIII
339(1)
Book XIV
340(1)
Book XV
341(1)
Book XVI
342(1)
Book XVII
343(3)
Book XVIII
346(2)
Book XIX
348(5)
Conclusion: "A way to the words" 353(6)
Postscript: "I am part of the origins, not just of language, but of people" 359(4)
Acknowledgments 363(4)
Notes 367(10)
Bibliography 377(18)
Index 395


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