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HematologiesThe Political Life of Blood in India$
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Jacob Copeman and Dwaipayan Banerjee

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501745096

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501745096.001.0001

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Bloodscape of Difference

Bloodscape of Difference

(p.1) 1 Bloodscape of Difference

Jacob Copeman

Dwaipayan Banerjee

Cornell University Press

This chapter traces a political hematology in which the “p” in “politics” figures in both the upper and lower cases. In the domain of overt big-P politics (which is to say in situations defined by their own actors as belonging to the domain of the political), contestations take place through the use of extracted blood. Blood flows in acts of violence or national solidarity, into syringes, art brushes, and pens, all in order to compel actions and persuade imaginations. Here, this chapter's area of inquiry is that of hematology as a sort of political style: how and why publicly enacted blood extractions—principally political rallies, memorials, protests in the form of petitions or paintings in blood—became such a noteworthy form of political enunciation in India. Complementing this approach is a counterpart focus on less overt, small-P politics—the domain of contestations about blood and its use. Exploration of this domain takes us into hospitals, blood banks, and campaigns aimed at getting people to understand and use the substance “correctly.” What are contested here are definitions, economies, and practices of blood, both inside and outside human bodies.

Keywords:   blood, politics, political hematology, India, big-P politics, small-P politics, hematology

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