Laughter Out Of Place: Introduction & Chapter 1

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Laughter Out Of Place: Introduction & Chapter 1 by Mind Map: Laughter Out Of Place: Introduction & Chapter 1

1. Humor and Class Based Suffering

1.1. Women of the shantytown had a oral tradition filled with humor and bawdy laughter.

1.2. Goldsteins family had a tradition of laughter and humor as well, especially her father and grandfather who inherited the "great comic tradition" of the family.

1.3. The non-literate urban repressed women found a vehicle of self-expression through humor and their oral tradition.

1.3.1. The women share stories and make each other laugh.

2. Humor, Power and the Poor

2.1. Humor: "A vehicle for expressing sentiments that are difficult to communicate publicly, or that point to areas of discontent in public life".

2.1.1. Humor is a "fugitive form of insubordination" expressed through these women's laughter.

2.2. Humor allows the poor to "make fun of the absurdity of their (political and economic) situation".

2.3. Elite displays of public power elicit disguised forms of protest such as folktales, gossip, rumors, grumbling or humor.

2.3.1. Humor is a weapon of the weak, but falls under "the arsenal of power". (34)

2.4. Humor is a form of power: "Using the materials of its culture, humor offers splendid openings for the exercise--and control--of aggression". (34)

2.5. Gay: "Humor is a very human way of putting such hidden truths on record". (34)

3. Marshall Sahlins

3.1. all culture is power?

3.2. "Power, power everywhere, And how the signs do shrink. Power, power everywhere, And nothing else to think". Sahlins 1993

3.3. "Quite wondrous, then, is the variety of things anthropologists can now explain by power and resistance, hegemony and counter-hegemony. I say explain because the argument consists entirely of categorizing the cultural form at issue in terms of domination, as if that accounts for it." (Sahlins 1999)

4. Black Humor

4.1. "While the humor of the poor may not necessarily lead directly to rebellions and political revolutions, it does open up a discursive space within which it becomes possible to speak about matters that are otherwise naturalized, unquestioned, or silenced". (36)

4.2. "Humor of particular classes plays an important role in boundary formation and the reinforcement of class positions, hierarchies, and structures". (36)

4.3. The black humor Goldstein encountered was a "discourse created by the poor and used against the wealthier classes". (36)

4.4. "The black-humored commentaries of the subordinated classes are windows into the sense of injustice oppressed peoples feel about their conditions." (39)

4.4.1. Goldstein asserts that the practitioners of this humor/protest understand the futility of it all.

5. Gloria and Felicidade Eterna

5.1. Goldstein returned to Felicidade Eterna in 1995 after a 3 year absence.

5.2. At Gloria's house, her daughter Soneca filled Goldstein in on the previous 3 years events.

5.3. Soneca revealed that the boy Zeca had died.

5.4. The community had unpaved roads, few cars, many churches, with some nice bungalows, and many huts, as well as ramshackle structures.

5.5. Glorias friends ranged from the poorest to the wealthiest.

5.6. Despite the economic stress present in the community, every household had a TV and radio.

5.7. Between her own children, her deceased sister Celina's children, and other various young relatives, Gloria was in charge of 14 children.

6. Goldsteins First Arrival in Brazil

6.1. Arrived in 1990, during the New Year's celebration in Rio's Zona Sul

6.2. This was a memory of the harmonious and peaceful side of Brazil, which would contrast with later contradictions of class, violence, race and gender

6.3. Stark contrast of affluence to poverty during the celebration.

6.4. Goldstein found the poverty she saw daily agonizing.

7. Scholar in Training

7.1. Goldstein was a Latin Americanist scholar in training in the early 80's at Cornell University.

7.2. Spent first summer in Mexico as a research assistant.

7.3. She became politically active in solidarity movements of the 1980's, specifically US-Latin relations.

7.4. Wished to expose North American Imperialism.

7.5. Given research position in Ecuador in 1982

7.6. Exploratory summer research expedition in Brazil 1988, vowed not to be seduced by Rio De Janeiro.

7.7. Spent time on AIDS prevention and education in Brazil.

7.8. Inspired with a focus on disenfranchised populations, Goldstein was curious about shantytowns, and in particular the women who inhabit them.

8. Carnival

8.1. "Ritual of inversion, where the poor and marginalized--and their accompanying aesthetic forms--temporarily take center stage and allow a critique of the standard elite culture". (Da Matta, Turner)

8.2. Brazil transforms Carnival from "religious ritual to national metaphor", setting it apart from other Carnival celebrations.

8.3. Describing Carnival--"Class hierarchies are turned upside down and the strictures governing sexuality are momentarily suspended" (57)

8.4. Nothing really changed for the poor in regards to Carnival, they still had no water or health care and the class structure issues were still there.

8.5. "There would be no need for carnaval in the first place if there were not monstrous things that needed to be banished and forgotten". (Scheper-Hughes)

8.6. Gloria mentioned to Goldstein that the "everyday life" of the shantytown was the more unbelievable and important aspect...not celebrations like Carnival.

8.7. The inversions of Carnival are temporary, and is allowed only due to elite approval....reinforcing the dominant social structure.

9. Habits of Class and Domination

9.1. Unable to revolt, the impoverished use laughter as their opposition.

9.2. "Laughter reveals the fault lines in social relations". (61)

9.3. "It is therefore understood that where hegemony is realized, coercion is unnecessary. It is only when subordinate groups force hegemony into ideology that the possibility for resistance becomes evident". (62)

9.4. Humor, and black humor, show how "the downtrodden perceive the hierarchies in which they are embedded." (62)

9.5. Humor: example of the "interconnectedness between comedy....and suffering and tragedy". (63)

10. Child Mortality

10.1. Zeca (Gloria's son) was extremely sick, and the neighbors had to help his siblings get him to the hospital.

10.2. While at the hospital Zeca was put on a metal cot and not treated well.

10.2.1. Zeca's siblings were not allowed to speak or give him water, nor were they allowed to explain anything to the doctors.

10.3. When Zeca finally died, they put him into a freezer, similar to a butchers freezer.

10.4. According to the children "Zeca suffered from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon, and the doctors did nothing but smoke cigarettes and watch as he died". (64)

10.5. Goldstein would laugh along with the others during the black humor (often about child death) despite not finding the stories funny initially.

10.6. During her years with the people of this community, she learned to share in the humor and "get the joke". (64)

11. AIDS Clinic in Rio De Janeiro

11.1. Gloria was employed by many of the same AIDS activists as Goldstein din in the early 90's.

11.2. Goldstein employed Gloria as a part time domestic worker at her apartment, and a friendship slowly blossomed.

11.3. Goldstein would visit Gloria at her home and eventually became an "adopted" member of the family, and their domestic-employer situation was no longer feasible due to the friendship.

11.4. The difference in living between middle class and how Gloria lived was revolting according to Goldstein, yet "she managed to retain the capacity to laugh". (67)

12. History, Political Economy, and Class Relations in Brazil

12.1. Goldstein favors a Marxist perspective to think with.

12.2. Gut Marxism: "anthropologists and other scholars who generally feel deeply about the world situation and hold that it conforms broadly to Marx's theories of political economy and class conflict". (72)

12.3. The relationship between nation-based class structures and they external relationship with the world capitalist system is a contentious issue.

12.4. frustration that accompanies the desperate political and economic situation elicits the use of humor in serious matters such as child death, rape and murder.

12.5. Cardoso and Faletto (1979) show how "dominating classes--as well as others--are limited by the structure of the world capitalist system". (73)

12.5.1. "Broader constraints of the system limit both the desires and the agency of the dominating classes". (73)

12.6. Mintz--When it comes to meaning-making, no classes have perfect agency. (73)

12.7. World capitalism structure: based on the expropriation of economic surplus from the satellite (underdeveloped regions) to the metropolis (developed regions). (74)

12.8. "A continuos chain of exploitative relations generates underdevelopment". (74)

12.9. "This (LOOP) is an ethnography of the ways in which class is experienced by women living in shantytowns during the last decade of the 20th century....the only way to understand class is to see how class relations work themselves out over a considerable historical period". (74)

13. Brief History of Brazil

13.1. In 1500 Brazil was "believed to be the home to between to and four million native american inhabitants". (75)

13.2. In the 1530's Portugal made more of a permanent presence in Brazil, as opposed to just maintaining trading posts in the past.

13.3. Brazil became the largest slave economy in the world with more than 3.5 million Africans imported with Brazilian sugar going to Europe and European products to Africa.