Chapter

The Abject Body of Infertility

Kalpana Ram

in Fertile Disorder

Published by University of Hawaii Press

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780824836306
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780824871307
The Abject Body of Infertility

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This chapter examines how the temporality of spirit possession is intertwined with that of the female life cycle by focusing on the case of a woman named Santi, who had experienced possession episodes ever since moving to her affinal village as a young bride and was widely known in the village as pēykkāri, or “demon-infested woman.” The chapter first considers Santi's account of her growing sense of familiarity and ease with the possessing spirits before discussing the role of agency and learning in possession. It then explores the notion of “auspiciousness” as well as the value of auspiciousness in relation to abjection and infertility. It also looks at how a woman's fertility attracts the destructive attention of goddesses.

Keywords: spirit possession; female life cycle; infertility; spirits; agency; learning; auspiciousness; abjection; fertility; goddesses

Chapter.  11628 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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