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Drugs and the Single Woman: Pharmacy, Fashion, Desire, and Destitution in India

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A cultural imaginary identified as “fashion” links single women with problems of desire in contemporary India, setting the stakes not only for independent living, but also for the ways distresses may be read and treated. From celebrity cases to films to clinical practices oriented around pharmaceuticals, the mechanisms of this imaginary locate female personhood at a series of critical junctures or “hinges,” from pharmaceuticals to drugs of vice, from desire to expressions of disorder, and from singularity or independence to destitution. In each of these turns, as psychiatrists read female bodies for signs of affliction and media portray counter trajectories of aspiration and downfall, certain realities are shielded from consideration, including sexual violence in intimate settings.

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Correspondence to Sarah Pinto.

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Pinto, S. Drugs and the Single Woman: Pharmacy, Fashion, Desire, and Destitution in India. Cult Med Psychiatry 38, 237–254 (2014).

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