1st Edition

Life, Illness, and Death in Contemporary South Asia Living through the Age of Hope and Precariousness

Edited By Matsuo Mizuho, Nakamura Sae, Funahashi Kenta Copyright 2023
    264 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book explores the experiential and affective dimensions of structural transformation in South Asia through contemporary and historical accounts of life, ageing, illness, and death.  

    The contributions to this book include analyses from various regions in South Asia, and topics discussed uncover how people’s experiences of life, ageing, illness, and death are entangled with the technology of governance, biomedicine, neoliberal restructuring and other national/international policies. Structured in three parts – governance, technology, and citizenship; well-being and restructuring of the social; waiting, hesitation, and hope as attitudes in facing the precariousness and fundamental uncertainty of life – the book brings to light the ways in which people face and continue to engage with their own and others’ lives cautiously, waveringly, but with a sense of hope.  

    A novel contribution to the study of how people struggle or navigate their lives through the conditions of inequity and precariousness in South Asia, this book will be of interest to researchers studying anthropology, sociology, history, medical and development studies of South Asia, as well as to those interested in cultural and social theory.

    Introduction, Sae Nakamura and Mizuho Matsuo; Chapter 1. Making Up Leprosy in India, James Staples; Chapter 2. ‘The Burial of the Dead’: Symbolic Space and Identity among the Muslims of Kolkata, Anasua Chatterjee; Chapter 3. Conceiving De-kinning: Practices of Pre-birthing in IVF Clinics in India, Anindita Majumdar; Chapter 4. Making and Un-making of a New Biosocial Subject: Folk Ayurvedic Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights in Contemporary India, Moe Nakazora; Chapter 5. Biological Citizenship and Ethnicity: Experiences of Sickle Cell Anemia in the Tharu Community in Southwestern Nepal, Yuka Nakamura; Chapter 6. Family Size and Couple’s Will: Evidence from Household Data of India, Kazuya Wada; Chapter 7. Fluctuating Reproductive Practices in the Age of Precariousness: Birth Spacing in Contemporary Nepal, Makiko Habazaki; Chapter 8. Patching the Relation of Care: An Essay on Senility, Intimacy, and Old Age Allowance in Urban Sri Lanka, Sae Nakamura; Chapter 9. Health and Ageing in Bhutan: How Can We Build a Sustainable Health Care System for Senior Citizens? Ryota Sakamoto; Chapter 10. Ironies, Transnationality, and Care, Bianca Brijnath and Andrew Simon Gilbert; Chapter 11. Precarity, Illness, and Stigmatised Marginality: Living with Arsenicosis in the Bangladeshi Cultural Context, M. Saiful Islam; Chapter 12. Living with Bodily Contingency: Miscarriage Among Childless Women in India, Mizuho Matsuo; Chapter 13. Displaced Death: Grief, Ambiguity and Practices of Waiting in Post-War Sri Lanka, Udeni M.H. Appuhamilage; Chapter 14. Commemorating a Self-immolator: A Case Study of Responses to Self-Immolation in a Tibetan Refugee Society in India, Tatsuya Yamamoto


    Mizuho Matsuo is Associate Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan. Sae Nakamura is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan. Kenta Funahashi is Associate Professor, Faculty of Sociology, Ryukoku University, Japan.