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The Devil is Disorder: Bodies, Spirits and Misfortune in a Trinidadian Village

Lynch, R; (2016) The Devil is Disorder: Bodies, Spirits and Misfortune in a Trinidadian Village. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This work examines constructions of the body, health, illness and misfortune in a Trinidadian village to consider how anxieties about risky and changing life circumstances are dealt with through cosmological frameworks. As such these discussions hope to contribute to the study of changing frameworks (particularly in relation to the growth of Evangelical Christianity), modernity in relation to post-colonial states, as well as to thinking on the body and health in medical anthropology. This is undertaken through the production of a detailed and ethnographically-grounded account of discourses and practices in a village that perceives itself as marginal to the rest of Trinidad. The growth of crime and violence in Trinidad more broadly forms a background to everyday life, which I link to the growth of Evangelical Christianity in the village. I suggest that this Evangelical Christian cosmological framework develops from, and contributes to, existing cultural understandings and provides a meaningful and constructive way of dealing with changing circumstances for those in a marginal position. Examining how such cosmological ideas are discussed and become 'known', as well as how they are made through discourses and practices, I propose that this framework gives more comprehensive protection from risk than previous understandings of spirits. Furthermore, through a focus on the individual, individual health and individual bodies, those in the village are able to deal with the anxieties of everyday life without recourse to (what are seen as) ineffective and uninterested State institutions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Devil is Disorder: Bodies, Spirits and Misfortune in a Trinidadian Village
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Moral order, Anthropology of Christianity, Medical Anthropology, Bodies, Post-colonial, Trinidad, Devil, Job, Cosmology, Misfortune, Anxiety, Ethnography, Evangelical Christianity, Spirits, Modernity, Risk
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1496020
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