By Donna M. Goldstein
Donna M. Goldstein demanding situations a lot of what we expect we all know in regards to the "culture of poverty." Drawing on greater than a decade of expertise in Brazil, Goldstein offers an intimate portrait of lifestyle one of the girls of the favelas, or city shantytowns. those ladies have created absurdist and black-humor storytelling practices within the face of trauma and tragedy. Goldstein is helping us to appreciate that such joking and laughter is a part of an emotional aesthetic that defines the experience of frustration and anomie endemic to the political and monetary desperation of the shantytown.
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Extra resources for Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence, and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown (Public Anthropology, 9)
It is to court a hard bargain to wish for such a revolutionary moment, because we all too often know beforehand who will suffer the greatest losses. In my own experiences in Brazil, laughter seems to fall short of a direct weapon of rebellion; humor is a much more discursive form of resistance. Humorous stories about class circulate freely and frequently on both sides of the class divide. I have heard many stories, for example, from middle- and upper-class friends who are perplexed by the laughter of a domestic worker.
They have not had the privilege of becoming a well-organized or a highly politicized social movement. At least, not yet. 28 The vast majority of the women studied here belong to a lineage of domestic workers whose daughters now are attempting to break from this tradition and are experiencing limited success in locating satisfactory alternative forms of employment. Yet these women communicate in an oppositional aesthetic style—a constant ﬂow of spontaneous black humor—that seems to belie their everyday struggles.
I also had the beneﬁt of having both a father and a grandfather who saw themselves as the inheritors of a great comic tradition. ” Thus, my childhood was immersed in laughter. 1 Even now, as I ﬁnish writing this book, which I admit has taken far too long, my father cannot resist teasing me with the assertion that he is staying alive just to see the day it is published. words fly away When you realize that you are not getting something— a joke, a proverb, a ceremony—that is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can see where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel it.