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Accepted Paper:

Armed violence and mockery at a favela public clinic  
Pedro Silva Rocha Lima (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

Looking at a public clinic in a Brazilian favela, this paper addresses mockery among staff as a form of inverting hierarchies of knowledge in the setting of a public clinic in Greater Rio de Janeiro.

Paper long abstract:

This paper addresses humorous mockery as a way to invert hierarchies of knowledge in the setting of a public clinic in Greater Rio de Janeiro. Examining events at a public clinic in Duque de Caxias, greater Rio de Janeiro, I look at how staff who reside in the local community mock better-off staff (and myself) for how they react to the sound of gunfire in the neighbourhood. Such reactions were in line with protocols for personal safety, set up by a humanitarian program by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), but laughed at by local clinic staff who knew a given situation did not pose danger. Such humour temporarily inverts the medical hierarchy of knowledge within the clinic, as doctors, nurses, and dentists are mocked by community healthcare agents who, through prolonged lived experience with armed violence, are better able to assess whether given instances of shooting pose a real threat to staff. More than a weapon of the weak, humorous mockery acted to prevent future failure within the dynamics of local government, which had in the past denied some of the staff at the clinic a voice when deciding whether their neighbourhood was too dangerous to work in.

Panel Irre05a
Laughing at the system: highlighting absurdity and failure through humour I
  Session 1 Monday 29 March, 2021, -