In attention to pain: Governance and bodies in Brazil

Laurie Denyer Willis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ethnographies of bodies have become entry points for understanding the sensorially rich ways that worlds are generated and lived. Here, I adduce a slow-paced ethnographic mode that centers how bodily pain and touch orient attention, with a focus on gendered and racialized violence in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. In doing so, I make explicit the expectation in Rio’s urban governance that resilience means toughening through pain. In turn, I detail how Pentecostal practices of ‘healing touch’ link pain and hope together, demonstrating the religious work, care, and governance involved in producing and maintaining hope under conditions of violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-360
Number of pages13
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number4
Early online date20 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2020


  • bodies
  • pain
  • race
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • suburbs
  • touch


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