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Dangerous Encounters: Meanings of Violence…
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Dangerous Encounters: Meanings of Violence in a Brazilian City

by Daniel Linger

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804725896, Paperback)

This book is about violence in the Brazilian city of Sao Luis. It describes how people think about and negotiate dangerous encounters - vital and disturbing experiences that, when they go wrong, yeild moral failure, humiliation, and death. Brazilians, like people elsewhere, worry about the perils of coming face to face with the wrong person, at the wrong time, under the wrong circumstances. This book discusses two conceptually linked forms of perilous face-to-face encounters: Carnival, a bacchanalian festival, and briga, a potentially lethal street confrontation. When playing becomes fighting, Carnival's samba, fueled by the controlled venting of dangerous passions, gives way to the explosive pas de deux of the street fight.

Sao-luisenses tell vivid, sometimes terrifying stories of verbal and physical confrontations. Their narratives, based on cultural models of Carnivals and brigas, highlight the vulnerability of the seld to humiliation by others and the vulnerability of moral controls to one's own hostile emotions. The book argues that this double sense of social and psychological vulnerability is a product of Brazilian interpersonal relations, which are profoundly marked by the arbitrary exercise of power and the stifling of resentment in subordinates.

Culture here consists not of shared symbols but of shared quandaries. The author suggests that Brazilian street fighting is an alarm bell - an inarticulate representation of pressing but poorly udnerstood social and psychological dilemmas. Violence in Sao Luis may therefore be a desperate attempt to understand and come to grips with the very resentment, rooted in the city's harsh social transactions, that engenders it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:47 -0400)

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