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Animal IntimaciesInterspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas$
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Radhika Govindrajan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226559841

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226560045.001.0001

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The Goat Who Died for Family Sacrificial Ethics and Kinship

The Goat Who Died for Family Sacrificial Ethics and Kinship

(p.31) 2 The Goat Who Died for Family Sacrificial Ethics and Kinship
Animal Intimacies

Radhika Govindrajan

University of Chicago Press

What is the nature of sacrificial connection between the one who sacrifices, the one who is sacrificed, and the one who accepts the sacrifice? Does sacrifice leave an imprint on everyday relationships that extends beyond the moment of killing? This chapter addresses these questions through an examination of increasingly controversial practices of ritual animal sacrifice, primarily of goats. The chapter argues that sacrificial relationships between villagers and sacrificial animals are characterized by practices of care, attention, and reciprocity that emerge through everyday, gendered forms of labor involved in raising animals who are eventually sacrificed. The affective intimacy that people feel for the sacrificial animals they raise compels them to offer ordinary and everyday gestures of love, care, and remorse that open up the possibility of ethical behavior in the interstices of violence.

Keywords:   sacrifice, patriarchy and gender, kinship, ethics, care

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