Amulets as Infrastructure
Enabling the Ordinary for Children in Mugum, Western Nepal
This article explores the use of amulets on children’s bodies, drawing on empirical examples from Mugum in western Nepal and theoretical insights from anthropology of personhood, kinship and infrastructure. Taking four-year old Tashi and his family in Mugum as a starting point, we show how the status of toddlers and small children is “extraordinary”; they are physically fragile, emotionally uncontrolled, and weakly connected, and in need of special protection. In the complex transition to ordinary personhood, amulets serve as one of many “technologies of protection” for children (Garrett 2013, 189). We suggest that amulets act as a stable infrastructure that enables a hope for children to live ordinary lives, and argue that the significance of these means of protection intersects closely with notions of marginality.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Heidi E. Fjeld, Inger K. Vasstveit
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