Through the ethgraphy of a Catholic community in Northeast Brazil, Maya Mayblin offers a vivid and provocative rethink of gendered portrayals of Catholic life. For the residents of Santa Lucia, life is conceptualized as a series of moral tradeoffs between the sinful and productive world against an idealized state of incence, conceived with reference to local Catholic teachings. As marriage marks the beginning of a productive life in the world, it also marks a phase in which moral personhood comes most actively - and poignantly - to the fore. This book offers lucid observations on how men and women as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, negotiate this challenge. As well as making an important contribution to the ethgraphic literature on morality, Christianity, and Latin America, the book offers a compelling alternative to received portrayals of gender polarity as symbolically all-encompassing, throughout the Catholic world.
MAYA MAYBLIN is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, UK.