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At Home in the Street

At Home in the Street
Street Children of Northeast Brazil


  • Date Published: August 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521598699

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • Through innovative fieldwork and ethnographic writing, Hecht lays bare the received truths about the lives of Brazilian street children. This book changes the terms of the debate, asking not why there are so many homeless children in Brazil but why, given the oppressive alternative of home life in the shantytowns, there are in fact so few. Speaking in recorded sessions they called 'radio workshops', street children asked one another questions that even the most experienced researcher would be unlikely to pose. At the center of this study are the children who play, steal, sleep, dance and die in the streets of a Brazilian city. But all around them figure activists, politicians, researchers and a global crisis of childhood.

    • Street children interviewed each other, asking questions that even the most experienced researcher would be unlikely to pose
    • Book contains a number of striking photographs
    • Despite widespread interest in the Brazilian 'death squads' dedicated to killing street children, no serious research exists on the subject
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Hecht's work is graceful, thorough, and level-headed. This book is a much needed contribution to the literature of Brazil, of children, and of anthropology. It will no doubt be read and argued for years to come.' Robin Nagle, author of Claiming the Virgin: The Broken Promise of Liberation Theology in Brazil

    'Hecht has been very lucky in the appropriation of the ethnographer's tape recorder by the street children themselves to hold their own 'radio workshops'. As a result, this work achieves something very special: the children themselves set the frame and limits of the otherwise inevitable and predictable outsider's sympathetic discourse on their plight. Never in ethnography has the agency of the subject's voice been so creatively present; never have the stories of such children who partly stand for contemporary Brazil been so plainly compelling.' George Marcus, Rice University

    'A moving, provocative study that probes below the surface of everyday Brazilian life … This is ethnography at its best: riveting, compassionate, pithy, handsomely illustrated with photographs, always aware of the larger social and political context.' Robert M. Levine, University of Miami

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521598699
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 35 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Speaking of the street
    2. Being in the street
    3. 'Home' children: nurtured childhood and nurturing childhood
    4. Betraying motherdom: Maloqueiros and 'that life' in the street
    5. When life is nasty, brutish and short: violence and street children
    6. Curing street children, rescuing childhood
    7. Street children and their 'clients', conclusion: the ephemeral lives of street children
    Appendix: the setting: Recife, Olinda, and Northeast Brazil
    References cited

  • Author

    Tobias Hecht

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