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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The contacts with Catarina’s immediate family allow Biehl to conclude that she “had become a leftover in a domestic world, […] the negative value, the unnecessary component of a migrant and urban poor culture” The introduction announces Beihl’s aspirations to write a book of a “texture [that would] stay as close as jowo to Catarina’s words, to her own thinking-through of her condition” Very frustrating to read What the hell, Joao?

He has also been a guest lecturer at more than 50 different universities around the world.

Dec 07, Bella Pascal Zionts rated it it was amazing. Biehl is the co-editor of When People Come First: To ask other readers questions about Vitaplease sign up.

May 21, Shom Dasgupta rated it it was amazing. Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment is a well-researched study with a fine balance between theoretical discussions and thorough fieldwork, offering a complex and original insight into the dynamics of social abandonment in contemporary Brazil. Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment is divided into six lengthy parts. For all its problems, I think this book is a beautiful combination of narrative, ethnographic detail, archival research, and scholarship.

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Considering Vita “the end-station on the road of poverty; […] where living beings go when they are no longer considered people” 2he examines life in Vita as a death catalyst for its occupants due to the ill-equipped staff, medical misdiagnoses, lack of funds and inadequate infrastructure. 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 aband One of the most beautiful and devastating ethnographies I’ve ever read.

About « João Biehl

Ethnographic Investigations University of California Press. Biehl is currently writing The Valley of Lamentationa historical ethnography of the Mucker War, a religious war that that shattered German-Brazilian communities in the 19 th century. They also elaborate on networks of care that poor urban patients create in their daily struggles to survive.

Lists with This Book. Vita is a beautiful ethnography and perfect example of a case study done right.

His ethnographic research focuses on domestic crimes and the monetarization of kinship ties in that region. His privileging of her voice, language, and concerns is beautifully done.

They also elaborate on networks of care that poor urban patients create in their daily struggles to survive. Keenan rated it it was amazing Sep 19, Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Best depiction of subaltern agency I’ve ever read easy. For those interested in Foucault, biopower,biopolitics, governmentality, zones of exception, bare life.

He specializes in medical anthropologyand his interests include social studies of science and religion, psychological anthropology, globalization and development, global health, ethnographic methods, critical theory, and Brazilian and Latin American societies.

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 are 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 also 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.

An ethnography of one person. Both Vita and Will to Live explore new geographies of access and marginalization that have emerged alongside pharmaceutical globalization.

A series of Catarina’s writing from to constitutes the last part of Biehl’s study, “The Dictionary. Mar 04, M added it. Refresh and try again. One can quibble with what the book does less persuasively. Apr 26, Michael Mena rated it it was amazing. Biehl then relates his conversations with Catarina about the writing of her “dictionary” in order to retrace her alleged mental illness and the rejection she experiences from her family, friends, medical institutions, and society as a whole.

João Biehl

A lovely example of a case study. Racheal Adair rated it liked it Aug 06, 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 ioao family, the medical system, and the state. Theoretically strong and fascinating.

Demonstrates so clearly the ways in which psychiatry, hospitals, and family interact and collude to alienate and exclude defective or troublesome persons. Quotes from Catarina’s conversations with Biehl pervade this study as a whole, yet her voice is jiao most prevalent in the last portion of the study through the inclusion of excerpts of her dictionary.

Jan 19, e smith rated it it was amazing.