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Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence, and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  190 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Donna M. Goldstein challenges much of what we think we know about the "culture of poverty." Drawing on more than a decade of experience in Brazil, Goldstein provides an intimate portrait of everyday life among the women of the favelas, or urban shantytowns. These women have created absurdist and black-humor storytelling practices in the face of trauma and tragedy. Goldstei ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published November 27th 2003 by University of California Press (first published October 28th 2003)
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May 02, 2012 Jill rated it liked it
Three and a half stars for what I consider to be the best piece of ethnographic writing I've read so far. There were several aspects of this book that I think set it apart from the other ethnographic works I've read to date. For one thing, Goldstein presented the clearest articulation of the value of ethnography, something I've been grappling with for a few months now. I understand intellectually the value that ethnography can bring, by giving a finer-grained texture to our understanding of issu ...more
Jan 07, 2011 Michaelanne rated it it was amazing
Amazing ethnography. Goldstein smoothly blends her role as researcher, anthropologist, and friend in this book. This book is extremely relevant to anthropology and sociology scholars, but no matter your background, this is an insightful and moving read.
Aug 20, 2013 Patrick rated it liked it
Shelves: latin-america
Great ethnography. Really great blend of theory and on the ground observation. Read this book then go re-watch City of God. You'll appreciate both so much more.
Michael Andersen-Andrade
Oct 19, 2009 Michael Andersen-Andrade rated it it was amazing
A brilliant and fascinating study of the psychological adaptations to poverty, violence, race and class in a Rio favela.
I had to write a review of this for class - may as well post it up here as well:

In Laughter out of Place Donna Goldstein explores the variety of challenges faced by residents of Rio de Janeiro favelas and describes the black humour that, she argues, is a common response. Goldstein’s primary focus is on a favela resident pseudonymised as “Glória,” her extended family and friends and on the humorous stories they tell about their often traumatic circumstances. These stories are often in what I wou
Dec 05, 2014 Victoria rated it liked it
Pretty easy read. Read this for one of my anthro classes. While it's good that she is illuminating readers on what is happening in Brazil, it is interesting that the cost is pretty pricey, and it does not offer solutions on how to combat the situation.
Apr 01, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Really interesting read about extreme poverty. Looks at the laughter at rape and death as the most confusing aspect of the favela. Humor does not mean rape is any less devastating, it is used as an act of insubordination to fight back in a small way.
Feb 28, 2012 kayla** rated it liked it
The stories are interesting, but the politics are sometimes quite dry. Overall, an interesting ethnography, but not something I would really read for the just the sake of reading.
Rebecca Jean
Dec 11, 2014 Rebecca Jean rated it really liked it
Shelves: ethnographies
One of the best ethnographic work I have ever read. I learned a lot and at the same time I was almost always intrigued!
Melodie Malfa
repetitive, lengthy. great concepts, little source material.
Kaleena Menke
May 03, 2009 Kaleena Menke rated it it was amazing
super tough read for me, but I loved it all and learned so much!
Sam Grace
Mar 17, 2011 Sam Grace marked it as to-read
Recommended to Sam by: Joanna Mishtal from H-MEDANTHRO ethnography recs
Received the Margaret Mead award in 2005
Jason Williams
May 18, 2008 Jason Williams rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the saddest books ever.
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