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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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Performativity in the Court of the Goddess

Performativity in the Court of the Goddess

(p.157) Chapter 6 Performativity in the Court of the Goddess
Fertile Disorder

Kalpana Ram

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the actual texture of performativity in the sessions of mediumship by focusing on the spirit mediums' relationship to their clients. It begins with an ethnographic vignette of a Dalit medium in full flight as the goddess, followed by a discussion of a “theological model” of her performativity. It then considers how the concept of performativity might be used to analyze the production of the so-called authority effects, with particular emphasis on the deconstruction of authority based on the poststructuralist tradition. It also explains how mediums claim the performativity not of skilled practitioners but of a goddess and goes on to assess the association of female mediums with the dispensation of royal justice, and what this justice consists of; Martin Heidegger's argument regarding lived temporality and spatiality; Maurice Merleau-Ponty's account of the “body of habit”; and Pierre Bourdieu's notion of “habitus.” The chapter concludes by describing forms of prefamiliarity that are bred by various kinds of transpositions and movements.

Keywords:   performativity, mediumship, goddess, authority, female mediums, justice, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Pierre Bourdieu, prefamiliarity

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