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Veins of Devotion

Blood Donation and Religious Experience in North India

Veins of Devotion
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Veins of Devotion tells the story of recent remarkable collaborations between guru-led devotional movements and public health campaigns to encourage voluntary blood donation in northern India. Focusing primarily on Delhi, Jacob Copeman carefully situates blood donation practices within the context of religious gift-giving, sacrifice, caste, kinship, and nationalism. The book analyzes the operations of several high-profile religious orders that organize large-scale public blood-giving events and argues that blood donation has become a site not only of frenetic competition between different devotional movements, but also of intense spiritual creativity. Despite significant tensions between blood banks and these religious groups, their collaboration is a singular success story—the nation’s blood supply is replenished while blood donors discover new devotional possibilities. Drawing on the rich tradition of South Asianist scholarship, while also engaging with recent innovations in social theory, Veins of Devotion represents a striking and original contribution to the anthropology of South Asia and to medical anthropology and religious studies more generally.
Rutgers University Press; January 2008
254 pages; ISBN 9780813545967
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