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Laughter Out Of Place: Race, Class, Violence, And Sexuality In A Rio Shantytown (California Series I [PATCHED]

GOLDSTEIN, DONNA M. Laughter out of place: race, class, violence,and sexuality in a Rio shantytown. xxiii, 349 pp., maps, illus., bibliogr.London, Berkeley: Univ. California Press, 2003. [pounds sterling]39.95(cloth), [pounds sterling]16.95 (paper)

Laughter Out Of Place: Race, Class, Violence, And Sexuality In A Rio Shantytown (California Series I

The high quality of the ethnography largely compensates for acertain artificiality in Goldstein's effort to integrate the chaptersthrough applying the concept of humour as a form of coping/resistance. Thiseffort seems rather like throwing a light-weight net over a blooming,bustling ethnography that, in the end, can't quite contain its beautifulunruliness. The world Goldstein has described is rowdier and edgier than theframe of 'humour' used to make sense of it. A lot of the humourthat Goldstein reports, for example, seems to be more about rivalries,divisions, angers, and resentments among the women themselves than aboutresistance to or coping with domination. (I do not doubt that Goldstein seesthis too, but she is a bit hamstrung by her reliance on the humour theme.)The book would also have benefited from rather tougher editing. About a thirdof its pages are devoted to reviewing already published literature, and thesepages could easily have been thinned down. (In her chapter on race, forexample, Goldstein devotes twenty pages to literature review before gettingto the ten pages of her own first-rate ethnography.) While engagement withliterature is obviously necessary, the book is best when it turns to theauthor's own field research: thus, the chapters on childhood, gangviolence, and sexuality are especially good because they minimize literaturereview and maximize finely grained accounts of episodes and interactions.


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