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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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. This haunting, unforgettable story centers on a young woman named Catarina, increasingly paralyzed and said to be mad, living out her time at Vita. Paperbackpages. Published June 27th by University of California Press first published Staley Prize School for Advanced Research To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Vitaplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Mar 09, Jen rated it it was ok. If navel gazing is the opposite of informed research, then this is the other opposite of navel gazing. An ethnography of one person.

Biehl writes so beautifully that one can almost forget that he is actively personifying and attributing meaning to the actions of a very mentally ill person. Its emotional and claims to be theoretical.

Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

Its highly involved, and yet claims to be observational. Very frustrating to read What the hell, Joao? Jan 21, Sokolov rated it it was amazing Shelves: Had to walk away from this book in amazement many times, either to cry or to talk about it with the person nearest me. Demonstrates so clearly the ways in which psychiatry, hospitals, and family interact and collude to alienate and exclude defective or troublesome persons.

João Biehl

More importantly, Biehl facilitates Catarina’s telling of her own story, which, like the stories of all those consigned to social death, need to be heard. Sep 25, Amy rated it it was amazing. Vita is a beautiful ethnography and perfect example of a case study done right. Biehl masterfully sculpts the story of Catarina’s life through his passion to find answers and through his substitution of the common terminology with powerfully fresh terms such as “social death” and “ex-human.

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It is a must read. Mar 04, M added it. Dec 07, Bella Pascal Zionts rated it it was amazing. Jan 22, Danny Cardoza rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is life changing ethnography.

Dec 30, Brittney Sanderson rated it it was amazing. Biehls writing is captivating. Mar 29, Bri rated it really liked it Shelves: One of the most beautiful and devastating ethnographies I’ve ever read. I recognize its problems. It is not very reproducible. It is hard to know where Catarina begins and ends and where Biehl begins and ends. It is not always clear what he is trying to say, and there are gaps that would be useful to have more information on. His point is not always entirely clear.

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. 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. His privileging of her voice, language, and concerns is beautifully done.

I was joso times uncomfortable with how things went but it demonstrates the messiness of fieldwork and ethics.

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. 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.

Okay okay okay okay. I know this is definitely not a pleasure read nor will my review ultimately convince anyone to read a heavy ethnographic account of the mental health industry in Brazilian society. BUT this book is fucking worth it anyway.

I know I am super biased because cultural vuta was what I studied during college, but this is mind-blowing. I didn’t find him. But I will still attempt in the future. Apr 25, Jerry rated it it was amazing Shelves: For all its problems, I think this book is a beautiful combination of narrative, ethnographic detail, archival research, and scholarship.

It’s much less jargony than other anthropology texts, while retaining a theoretical and academic rigor. Dec 30, Meghan rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: My favorite ethnography this year, Biehl’s person-centered ethnography is historical, jowo and personal. Seamlessly connecting macrostructural shifts in the global economy to individual lived experience, Biehl’s critical interpretive approach uses the story of one woman to address key questions in medical anthropology.

Not surprising that the book won just about every anthropology book award. Dec 14, Lupe Marin rated it it was amazing.


Vita « João Biehl

This book really opens your eyes to people like Catarina and makes you think about our societies. It makes you question how is it that we cast away our own family simply because they are “different. Truly enjoyed reading this book despite the heartbreak.

Oct 13, Nutsa rated it it was amazing. 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”.

A lovely example of a case study. Biehl uses via example of a single woman to explore gendered medical policy, family structure and psychology in Brazil. Theoretically strong and bidhl. I felt that it could have drawn upon bio-cultural theory more.

May 21, Shom Dasgupta rated it it was amazing. Jan 28, Bill Shaner rated it really liked it. Best depiction of subaltern agency I’ve ever read easy. Aug 09, Lisa rated it it was amazing. A spectacular examination of social death and exclusion in a Brazilian “zone of abandonment.

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

Jan 19, e smith rated it it was amazing. You should read this. It will change your brains.

Jan 07, Laura added it. Apr 26, Michael Mena rated it it was amazing. Absolutely one of best ethnographies I’ve ever read. For those interested in Foucault, biopower,biopolitics, governmentality, zones of boehl, bare life.

Alyssa Robinson rated it really liked it Dec 13, Racheal Adair rated it liked it Aug 06, Anna rated it liked it Oct 19, Kristen Ghodsee rated it really liked it Aug 02, Keenan rated it it was amazing Sep 19, Apr 03, Possum Paderau rated it it was ok. Maybe someone who wants to see God at the bus station just bishl to see God at the bus station. Kenyu rated it really liked it Jul 07, Erica rated it really liked it Mar 18, Alyssa Tischler rated it it was amazing Jan 04, Meredith Carrel rated it liked it May 23, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

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