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AfflictionHealth, Disease, Poverty$
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Veena Das

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823261802

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823261802.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2019

How the Body Speaks

How the Body Speaks

Chapter:
(p.26) One How the Body Speaks
Source:
Affliction
Author(s):

Veena Das

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823261802.003.0001

This chapter examines the ways in which illness is made knowable in the course of clinical and social transactions by focusing on one of the neighborhoods in East Delhi, Bhagwanpur Kheda. More specifically, it considers the way people interact with health practitioners and understand their illnesses, along with the frequency of their visits to the practitioners. Drawing on a survey of sample households in Delhi over a two-year period (2001–2003) carried out under the auspices of the Institute of Socio-Economic Research in Development and Democracy (ISERDD), the chapter shows that there are no firm epistemic understandings of why illness happens; people often put together a narrative of illness that borrows vocabularies from different medical systems (Ayurvedic, allopathic) as well as vocabularies of the occult. It suggests that there are no well-made ontologies that could account for the movement between disease as it inhabits the human body versus when it exists as an abstraction in textbooks or other discursive forms.

Keywords:   illness, East Delhi, Bhagwanpur Kheda, health practitioners, Institute of Socio-Economic Research in Development and Democracy, occult, disease, human body

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