Laura Petracchi est doctorante en Anthropologie culturelle à l’Université Milano Bicocca.

Résumé de la proposition
“Before, during and after the shooting, the silence”. The meanings of silences in some favelas of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

The paper aims to explore the relationship between silence, violence and emotions in the context of some favelas of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It tries to analyse this relationship starting from the conscious or unconscious use and experience of silences during and after my fieldwork.

The speech focuses on the spectacular, sensorial, resonant and physical dimension of violence in the favelas where I lived and worked. How does the silence act in such contexts? Could we consider silence as a language or as a strategy to face with violence? My aim is to reflect upon silence as a place and time in which particular emotions related to everyday violence and insecurity, as fear, sadness, affliction, but also love and affection, are shaped.

Starting from my fieldwork research I investigate the different kinds of silences which marked the relationship between me, Janaina, a 24 years old woman, and her three children. What kind of situation, occasion or event produced these silences? And what kind of practices, social and affective relationships, and experiences the silences are able to produce?

Janaina raised her children alone with a precarious work and she has been, together with her children, one of the most important friends and interlocutors for my ethnographic research. Nevertheless, in a short time, our relationship became conflictual because of her protracted violence over her children. The mother-sons and the mother-sons-me relationships were not isolated, but immersed in the context of endless violence and insecurity typical of the favela where they live. Such relationships unveiled and at the same time influenced and affected the plurality of violent dynamics of the daily life in such context.

In particular I aim to focus on my silences concerning the Janaina’s daily violence, considering not only the non-dit, but also the indifference and the complex process of suppression of different kinds of emotions, as love and affection as well as fear and rage. I would like to read my silence as a relational place and time in which something incommunicable could take shape. At the same time I explore silence not only as an obstacle, but above all as a research instrument, an instable, uncontrollable and changeable tool, that could be used to generate anthropological understanding.

Keywords: Violence; Silence; Emotions; Affection; Favelas.

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