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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 Social Theory

Possession and Social Theory

(p.225) Chapter 8 Possession and Social Theory
Fertile Disorder

Kalpana Ram

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the social theory of spirit possession, first by discussing a Christian theological model of possession within anthropology and its consequences for lived reality in Tamil Nadu, especially in the case of Catholic populations, and for social theory more generally. It then considers the continued centrality of consciousness in hermeneutic accounts of possession, along with the significance of motility for the social recognition of personhood. It also describes the relationship between everyday comportment and the body of possession from the perspective of the possessed women, the two very different models of performance provided by Tamil Nadu in respect of the body, and the specific use of bodily movement in possession. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the role of the body of habit in female possession and how possession seeks to break with the body of habit.

Keywords:   social theory, spirit possession, consciousness, motility, personhood, comportment, performance, bodily movement, female possession

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