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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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Hemo Economicus

Hemo Economicus

From Blood Sacrifice to Blood Science?

(p.127) 4 Hemo Economicus

Jacob Copeman

Dwaipayan Banerjee

Cornell University Press

This chapter draws on ethnographic research in Kolkata and Delhi. It follows voluntary blood donor organizations seeking to convey to the janata (people) that the body produces more blood than it needs and that a portion of this excess blood can be given without the body losing anything. This is an insight at odds with conventional understandings of blood excorporation in the region as involving irrecuperable loss, understandings that inform continuing perceptions of blood donation as a sacrificial gesture. To give blood without risking irrecuperable loss would seem to fundamentally undercut the gesture of blood donation as sacrifice. An imagination of blood as excess and surplus thus involves the antisacrificial redescription of blood donation.

Keywords:   sacrifice, blood sacrifice, blood donor organizations, excess blood, blood excorporation, blood donation, antisacrificial redescription, proportionality

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