Death without Weeping

Death without Weeping : The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil


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When lives are dominated by hunger, what becomes of love? When assaulted by daily acts of violence and untimely death, what happens to trust? Set in the lands of Northeast Brazil, this is an account of the everyday experience of scarcity, sickness and death that centres on the lives of the women and children of a hillside "favela". Bringing her readers to the impoverished slopes above the modern plantation town of Bom Jesus de Mata, where she has worked on and off for 25 years, Nancy Scheper-Hughes follows three generations of shantytown women as they struggle to survive through hard work, cunning and triage. It is a story of class relations told at the most basic level of bodies, emotions, desires and needs. Most disturbing - and controversial - is her finding that mother love, as conventionally understood, is something of a bourgeois myth, a luxury for those who can reasonably expect, as these women cannot, that their infants will live.

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  • Paperback | 632 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 43.18mm | 929.86g
  • University of California Press
  • BerkerleyUnited States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 65 b&w photographs
  • 0520075374
  • 9780520075375
  • 132,920

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"Hauntingly beautiful. . . . [The] richly detailed qualitative analysis has thoroughly convinced this reader, at least, of her arguments linking maternal behavior and child death."--"American Anthropologist

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About Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Nancy Scheper-Hughes is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her book Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland (California, 1979) received the Margaret Mead Award in 1981. She is the winner of the 2000 J. I. Stanley Prize of the School of American Research.

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