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Fertile DisorderSpirit Possession and Its Provocation of the Modern$
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Kalpana Ram

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836306

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836306.001.0001

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Possession and the Bride

Possession and the Bride

Emotions, the Elusive Phantom of Social Theory

(p.73) Chapter 3 Possession and the Bride
Fertile Disorder

Kalpana Ram

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the phenomenology of emotions associated with spirit possession from the perspective of social theory by focusing on the case of Vijaya, a young bride from the coastal village of Katalkarai Ūr in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu. Before discussing the wider context in which Vijaya's spirit attacks occurred, the chapter considers the sociology of possession and the challenge posed by possession to a traditional conception of the individual subject. It then explores I. M. Lewis's assumption of strategic consciousness in possessed women as well as his argument that possession is “an entirely arbitrary and idiosyncratic affair.” It also explains how Vijaya's possession by phantoms is linked to untimely death and injustice, and how her aspiration for a love marriage exposed her to danger. It shows that the phantom troubles Vijaya after the death of her father and just after her elopement and marriage to her husband. The chapter concludes by describing the alliance model of sexuality and the corporeal genesis of ghosts.

Keywords:   emotion, spirit possession, social theory, bride, consciousness, phantoms, love marriage, sexuality, ghosts

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