Sexuality, Morality, and the Logic of Gender

Kelly E. Hayes

in Holy Harlots

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262645
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949430 | DOI:
Sexuality, Morality, and the Logic of Gender

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Anyone who has spent significant time in Brazil inevitably will have been warned of the periferia, a term that identifies not only the perimeter of urban space but also the marginal conditions believed to prevail there. In its most narrow usage, periferia refers to the shantytowns and blocks of low-income housing that have sprouted around the edges of Rio de Janeiro and other urban centers in Brazil. More broadly periferia denotes a boundary zone, but it lends itself to a web of referents expanding its meaning beyond the purely spatial to encompass both the moral and social connotations of life on the edge: marginality, lawlessness, immorality, chaos. Rape and robbery are imagined to be commonplace events in the periferia, perversions of legitimate sexual relations and modes of exchange that only hint at the dangers that lie in wait for decent, respectable people who, unwittingly or not, venture there.

Keywords: Brazil; periferia; urban space; shantytowns; marginality; lawlessness; immorality; chaos; rape; robbery

Chapter.  8392 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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