Bom Jesus And The Search For Identity Essay

1175 Words Feb 29th, 2016 5 Pages
Bom Jesus and the Search for Identity It was just a single town in a story told more than twenty years ago, yet many of its most horrifying descriptions of corruption and ignorance still prevail in modern day Brazil. In Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ ethnography, Death Without Weeping, she explores the societal and structural roots of chronic water storage and how it has become inevitable in shaping the social order in the small town of Bom Jesus. Not only does daily live in the town revolve around water, it also highlights the stagnation of social mobility and widespread government ignorance. Through the description of Bom Jesus and its chronic water shortage, Scheper-Hughes exposes the polarity in the social hierarchy and traces the roots of the government corruption which has continued to cause controversy in its handling of Brazil’s Zika virus outbreak. From the beginning of the chapter, it was evident that the dominant feudal monoculture and its strong ties to both the political and social mobility in Bom Jesus. The agrarian society and feudal system of Bom Jesus gave rise to a system of “patriarchy and patronage” that enabled the accession of the wealthy who resided in the guarded “casa” while continuing to oppress the poor of the “rua” (Scheper-Hughes). As evident in the widespread influence of Dr. Urbano’s family, nearly all of the wealth and power are concentrated and preserved in generational inheritance within a few families. Not only does this allow the rich to…

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