Heterotopia and Illness: Older women and Hypertension in a Brazilian Favela

Annette Leibing


This article is about older women and the way hypertension is linked to their life in a favela, a “shantytown”, in Rio de Janeiro. Inspired by Foucault, I suggest calling this complex phenomenon ‘heterotopic illness’. By calling attention to the importance of place for understanding certain illnesses, the limited usefulness of some public health prevention campaigns is shown. Since hypertension can be considered a “disease of aging”, it will be argued that some place-related stressors often have a greater impact on seniors than they have on younger adults.


Heterotopic illness; favela; Brazil; place; hypertension; aging

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/aa.2014.2


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Copyright (c) 2018 Annette Leibing

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