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Holy HarlotsFemininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil$
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Kelly Hayes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262645

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262645.001.0001

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Sexuality, Morality, and the Logic of Gender

Sexuality, Morality, and the Logic of Gender

(p.95) Chapter 4 Sexuality, Morality, and the Logic of Gender
Holy Harlots

Kelly E. Hayes

University of California Press

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

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