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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Very frustrating to read What the hell, Joao? Keenan rated it it was amazing Sep 19, Mar 09, Jen rated it it was ok. He has also written 4 books in Portuguese: Jan 22, Danny Cardoza rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of the most beautiful and devastating ethnographies I’ve ever read. 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.

However, these criticisms aside, VITA: Theoretically strong and fascinating. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. For all its problems, I think this book is a beautiful combination of narrative, ethnographic detail, archival research, and scholarship.

Biehl uses the example of a single woman to explore gendered medical policy, family structure and psychology in Brazil.


João Biehl

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Through these encounters the reader learns about the attitudes and misconceptions Catarina’s family held about her health. They also elaborate on networks of care that poor urban patients create in their daily struggles to survive. Published June 27th by University of California Press first gita Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

The fourth part, “Family,” details Beihl’s encounters and conversations with Catarina’s immediate and extended family in Novo Hamburgo.

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

To ask other readers questions via Vitaplease sign up. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. It would be interesting to know if Catarina herself took any part in the selection of these portions.

In addition to the introduction, conclusion, and postscript VITA: Kenyu rated it really liked it Jul 07, It will change your brains. Life in a Z Absolutely one of best ethnographies I’ve ever read.

jiao Its emotional and claims to be theoretical. 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”.

It is not always clear what he is trying to say, and there are gaps that would be useful to have more information on. Working within an interdisciplinary framework of anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, psychiatry and cultural history, Ibehl study painstakingly traces Catarina’s jpao and irreversible exclusion from society as well as her own struggles against this exclusion manifested through her incessant writing at the indigent asylum.


Kristen Ghodsee rated it really liked it Aug 02, By choosing to pursue an ethnographical study of one of Vita’s most lucid inhabitants, Catarina, Biehl exposes the consequences of the multiple and complex interactions of the social, medical, familial, and governmental negligence and malpractices. 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.

Both Vita and Will to Live explore new geographies of access and bjehl that have emerged alongside pharmaceutical globalization.

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.

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.