Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Contemporary India: An Ethnographic Study of Globalization, Disorder, and the Body
AuthorPathak, Gauri S.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder with no known cure that compromises fertility, is a lifestyle disease affecting a growing number of urban Indian women. Media accounts and medical practitioners have noted a recent rise in PCOS cases in urban India and attribute it to "Westernization," modernization, stress, and lifestyle changes following on the heels of economic liberalization in 1991, which opened up the country to processes of globalization. Discourse about PCOS has thus opened up a space for commentary indexing anxieties about larger social and political economic shifts in the country, and women with PCOS are individualized embodiments of the biosocial stresses caused by these shifts. Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing sociocultural landscape with potential for new opportunities for women, the syndrome also poses a challenge to women's traditional roles as wives and mothers, as its symptoms negatively affect reproduction and physical appearance. In this dissertation, I investigate aspects of public discourses about PCOS and lived realities of the syndrome in India as a lens into the interaction of processes of globalization with the local socioculturally embedded body.
Degree ProgramGraduate College