The bodily organ features prominently in the public representation of medical clinics in India. Interviews with clinic directors offer a rationale: the clinic's public is assumed to be illiterate. Pedagogies of the body as an order of parts appear frequently across a range of media: these often bear a formal similarity to pedagogies of language in a post-colonial context. This similarity is here framed as a shared metonymic order, a framing used to offer some context for the notable accusation by clinicians, at points over India's modern history, that "illiterates confuse their organs." In offering a different and "metaphoric" reading of this confusion of parts, the essay suggests why popular debate on markets in human kidneys for transplant draws extensively on the experience of persons with the sterilization camps of the Indian Emergency and then turns to the recent trend of reporting on the deaths of political leaders as being due to "multi-organ failure."


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pp. 123-142
Launched on MUSE
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