Laughter Out of Place

Intro and Chapter 1

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Laughter Out of Place by Mind Map: Laughter Out of Place

1. Laugh to keep from crying: laughter is a survival mechanism, an outlet

2. Humor is used as the theme that chart the intersections among the hierarchies of race, class, gender, and sexuality within poverty-stricken communities

2.1. The laughter of the people (Carnivale, religious rituals) gatherings, etc.) is the vehicle used to challenge those in power but simultaneously the powerful is using the poor as a source of entertainment.

3. Population feels like objects/targets of hierarchy

4. Of the ten million residents of the metropolitan Rio de Janeiro population, one million live in favelas (shantytowns) and women form the backbone of the population


5.1. Poverty is passe. No one wants to read about it or study it anymore.

5.2. Still a need for someone to give voice to those who do not have an avenue to communicate

5.3. Still need to provide ethnographic context to reader

5.4. Immersion into the culture: Gloria and the observer's relationship

5.5. Friendship developed between Gloria and observer that was unusual for the observer but common to Brazilians.

5.6. Gloria first was a servant to observer; Invited observer to her home to see how the other half lives

5.7. Relationship changed from employer-employee relationship to anthropologist- primary informant

5.8. "Revolting contrast" between how Gloria lived and how the anthropologist and her middle class friends lived all within the same area

5.9. Break Every Chain (Class and Domination): unable to rebel black humor (laughter) used to oppose Brazilian racial, class, and gender ideology and deal with the tragedy and sadness that poverty brings

5.10. Black humor: Soneca, Gloria's daughter, in a carnivalesque manner informing the observer of her brother's death

5.11. The story of Celina's death, Gloria's sister, and the humor injected is an example of the black humor that helps them to deal with the horror of their lives

5.12. Carnival: a break from the misery

5.13. A reflection of Brazil to the world as portrayed by Brazilians

5.14. Where everything is permitted and anything is possible

5.15. A ritual of inversion where the poor is elevated and the powerful become the targets of oppression and ridicule

5.16. Carnival, like laughter, is short lived

5.17. Gloria, her family and friends everyday humor is similar to Carnivale: makes fun of the wealthy, but also "pokes fun of the miserable circumstances in which they find themselves"

5.18. Biases of Observers

5.18.1. Other Latin Americans viewed Brazil as separate Latin American Country: dress, sensuality Middle upper-class families, university educated, cosmopolitan in outlook

5.19. Case Study: Gloria

5.20. 3 Years since seen Gloria's family (1992). Not much had changed. Same poverty.

5.21. Gloria had a total of 14 children in her care but one died

5.22. In the entire community 2 to 3 families owned cars

5.23. Actual former barrier (barreira) existed that marked the end of the community.

5.24. Houses leading up to Barreira: neat shacks, (brightly painted bungalows with cemented floors); wattle-and-daub huts; ramshackles structures.

5.25. Habitants were poor but had some kind of television or radio

5.26. Gloria friends were made up of different economic status from poorest to wealthiest

5.27. Gloria's family were the poorest of the poorest;



7.1. The difference between the rich's emply ness and the poor's empty nest. The rich laments, the poor rejoices.

7.2. Discrimination in employment prevents many families from dispersing.

7.3. Domestic work is available to Afro-Brazilian characterized by low pay and racial disparity

7.4. Most domestic work is carried out by women.

7.5. Most jobs require "boa aparencia": meaning a good appearance. Veiled discrimination for dark skinned people need not apply.

7.6. Living wage means heavy manual labor or in case of Gloria, heavy-duty day cleaner. Living at home afforded Gloria a unique opportunity. Usually, the work card is not signed for this status.

7.7. Gloria's work days typically is 14 hours per day.

7.8. Although hours were long, her pay was more attractive than live in domestics.

7.9. Gloria had a unique and palatable employer-employee work relationship with her boss (patroa). Her boss was a social worker at a firm that provided a home to street children. The boss was conscious of the importance of women's labor and made a deliberate attempt to pay Gloria a higher wage than normal. She also provided Gloria a transportation stipend.

7.10. Brazilian middle "classness" is a state of mind.

7.11. Employing a domestic is a class marker for the middle class in Rio de Janeiro.

7.12. Rio's low paying servant economy keeps it afloat. There in an increasing feminization of its workforce and a growing participation of children in the economy.

7.13. Imperial domination in Brazil is marked by first slavery then later, servitude which is quite similar.

7.14. The lower economic echelon does not respect its own moving up in ranks. Resents having to wait on them as a domestic.

7.15. Although the relationship between employer is employee is oppressive, the relationship is sometimes characterized by true affection and seeking to assist in troubled times.

7.16. The privileged classes convince themselves that their patronage is healthier for their servants the the lives available to them on the streets or married to a man of their own status to care for them.

7.17. Academic credentialing does not equate to social mobility and capital gain.

7.18. Cultural capital are a possession of the dominant classes and are acquired through the process of class production and reproduction.

7.19. Domestics are treated as property passed down through a wealthy family from generation to generation.

7.20. How the domestics and wealthy class behave in public is a sign of economic status and mobility: poor folks don't know how to behave in public. Certain stores do not welcome people in working class attire.

7.21. The wealthy have become preoccupied with public space due to the prevailing crime.

7.22. There is a bifurcated public school system in Brazil so that the upper and lower classes do not mix.

7.23. According to Bourdieu, educational capital and how corollarially schools serve to reproduce the cultural ad class divisions in any society in both visible and invisible ways.

7.24. The notion that education will bring social mobility is one that must necessarily be restricted because of the other factors that constitute the make up of the system.

7.25. To enter higher education students are expected to pass a highlyt competitive vestibular (admission examination). After attending a second-rate public school very few individuals in the poor sectors are able to pass the exam.

7.26. In Felicidade Eternal children were expected to be productive and to work from a very young age.

7.27. There are signs in social unrest in Brazil in response to the vestiges of slavery in the Country. Many women are moving into suburban factory work-men territory.

7.28. The younger generation would rather do anything than domestic work.


8.1. Brazil's multicolor expression of diversity is a matter of national pride. White and Black skin tone symbolizes class rather than race.

8.2. North Americans discuss race based affirmative action but no class based affirmative action.

8.3. Historical events enabled Brazilians to embrace mesticagem, the reputed blending of indigenous American, Iberian, and African people into a single national identity. In United States raced is used to suggest utterly separate human types.

8.4. Brazil did not develop a legal structure that supported racism. The United States did. Therefore, denial of opportunity could not be challenged in courts because no law was broken.

8.5. Things African derived were absorbed into Brazil's national identity ((ex. Umbanda religion).Those cultural facets that were purely African or associated with slavery were denigrated.

8.6. However, blackness-dark skin color and African racial features-continue to be associated with slavery and are considered ugly.

8.7. Despite the economic legacy of slavery, poverty in Brazil is conceptualized as a class problem rather than a race problem.

8.8. Since 1950s, most Brazilianist have agreed on the following interpretation of the construction of race: according to appearance; America, one drop of Black blood and a bi-polarized Black v. White.

8.9. Brazil's erotic paradise representation. Celebrated during carnival.

8.10. Freyre's thoughts: Colonizers sexually idealized the dark skinned woman. This is believed to create a less violent slavery compared to the rest of the Americas.

8.11. Thomas Skidsmore believes Freyre's assertions were harnessed by Brazilian elites to promote the whitening ideal.

8.12. Brazil was the last country on earth to abolish slavery, it was more apt to incorporate a African and indigenous culture.

8.13. The imagery of a fun loving population, of free and unhindered sexuality, and of tropical sensuality was summarized and celebrated in the representation of the sexy mulata.

8.14. Freyre never emphasized rape but rather consensual which he asserts led to the color-blind erotic democracy.

8.15. Mixed race or black women are (or idealized representations of such women) with certain whitened characteristics are appreciated for their beauty and sensuality, while the loaw-income mixed-race and black women are barred from economic and social mobility.

8.16. Most people of color in Brazil know that it is not a racial democracy but toy with the idea of an erotic democracy.

8.17. Contemporary scholars of sexuality have avoided the connection between race and sexuality, thus preserving the notion that Brazilian sexuality guarantees an implicitly color blind society.

8.18. In Carnivale the ideal representation of the mulata is eroticized, exoticized, and celebrated, while real women of color are kept from mainstream economic advancement.

8.19. Sexual discourses about black or mixed-race women are appropriated and reproduced by the women themselves.