Eva Fiks

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Keele, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10377

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Fiks, Eva (Keele, U. of) "The Intimate State: Sterilization in Rural North India"

The Intimate State investigates social, cultural, and political aspects of sterilisation (tubal ligation) in rural north India. The continued prevalence of this invasive and difficult-to-reverse procedure in India is a complex and poorly understood phenomenon. Drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in rural Rajasthan and in government-organised sterilisation camps, this project examines how sterilisation fits within women’s lifeworlds: their social and intimate lives, their relationships with biomedical and state institutions, and their experiences of wider processes which make women’s bodies available for such intervention. Women’s encounters with and within institutions and women’s wider reproductive experiences reveal various ways in which violence, care, and chronicity become intertwined and often inseparable in their reproductive journeys. The history of population control in India alongside local understandings of technology”particularly a laparoscope that is used to tie the tubes”helps us comprehend how tubal ligation becomes a convenient option for some women in rural India while invoking fear in others. Positioned at the intersection between medical anthropology and an anthropology of the state, this project aims to contribute to the understanding of the theoretically and ethnographically blurry space between state-led care and state-led violence that often characterises women’s engagements with population control projects.