João Guilherme Biehl is Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, Biehl has written two books in English: Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment (University of California Press ) and Will to Live: AIDS. Biehl, Joao (). Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment. University of California Press. Vita is an experience that grows more meaningful. João Biehl’s Vita brilliantly and originally integrates these seemingly separate domains. Vita ensnares the reader in Brazil’s intricate web of entrenched social.

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I could say more but I have to write papers on this sucker, so suffice it to say, highly recommended if you are interested in topics like creative ethnography, social death, biopolitics, regimes of care, etc. You should read this.

Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment by João Biehl

A spectacular examination of social death and exclusion in a Brazilian “zone of abandonment. Sep 25, Amy rated viehl it was amazing. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. I recognize its problems. As Biehl demonstrates, this nationwide phenomenon intensified the emergence of socially marginalized and decaying areas such as Vita.

BUT this book is fucking worth it anyway.

Racheal Adair rated it liked it Aug 06, Biehl writes so beautifully that one can almost forget that he is actively beihl and attributing meaning to the actions of a very mentally ill person. Apr 03, Possum Paderau rated it it was ok. Moreover, Biehl’s criterion for including only certain portions of her dictionary in the last section remains unclear.

I also think he does a fantastic job of tracing what forces affected Catarina’s life and how multiple parties influenced and altered the course of life. But I will still attempt in the future. Thanks for telling us about the problem.


Very frustrating to read What the hell, Joao? Staley Prize School for Advanced Research Meredith Carrel rated it liked it May 23, This book is not only one of the greatest ethnographic accounts of “the end-station on the road of poverty” but one of the most powerful enquiries into the nodes of existence “where living beings go when they jpao no longer considered people”.

Biehl’s thought provoking study not only renders visible the appalling experiences of the marginalized individual s at the asylum, but vuta shows the impact of social, political and cultural aspects of Brazil that further deepen the desolation of the poor as well as perpetuate the infringement of basic human rights.

Vita by João Biehl – Paperback – University of California Press

His point is not always entirely clear. The fourth part, “Family,” details Beihl’s encounters and conversations with Catarina’s immediate and extended family in Novo Hamburgo. For via interested in Foucault, biopower,biopolitics, governmentality, zones of exception, bare life. By choosing to pursue an ethnographical study of one of Vita’s most lucid inhabitants, Catarina, Biehl exposes the joaao of the multiple and complex interactions of the social, medical, familial, and governmental negligence and malpractices.

Vita garnered seven major book awards, including the J. May 21, Shom Dasgupta rated it it was amazing. He is also working on a book titled Anthropology of Becoming, and is collaborating on a book project on Oikographiawhich foregrounds the house as a key site of empirical and conceptual analysis. Maybe someone who wants to see God at the bus station just wants to see God at the bus station. Through these encounters the reader learns about the attitudes and misconceptions Catarina’s family held about her health.

Biehl grew up in the favelas outside of the town of Novo Hamburgo in Southern Brazil after migrating from the colonial interior with his parents and sister at the age of 4. That being said, this is a sensitive piece of work that looks with empathy and grace at the life of a remarkable woman who was abandoned by family, the medical system, and the state.


Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

Part I of this study, “Vita,” gives a brief background on the “deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill in the nineties in Porto Alegre, thus shifting “the burden of care from state institutions to the family and communities” For all its problems, I think this book is a beautiful combination of narrative, ethnographic detail, archival research, and scholarship. It is a must read.

A lovely example of a case study. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. In recent years, Biehl authored Vita: Life in a Z Both Vita and Will to Live explore new geographies of access and marginalization that have emerged alongside pharmaceutical globalization. This book really opens your eyes to people like Catarina and makes you think about our societies. He showed an early interest in education, entering the first grade and completing grade school a year earlier than most other children in Novo Hamburgo.

An ethnography of one person. He has also been bienl guest lecturer at more than 50 different universities around the world. His privileging of her voice, language, and concerns is beautifully done. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Had to walk away from this book in amazement many times, either to cry or to talk about it with the person nearest me. Published June 27th by University of California Press first published One can quibble with what the book does less persuasively.