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The Devil is Disorder: Bodies, Spirits and Misfortune in a Trinidadian Village

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The Devil is Disorder

Bodies, Spirits and Misfortune in a Trinidadian Village

Rebecca Lynch

282 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-487-2 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (January 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-488-9 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“[A] Fascinating and detailed account of local medicine, morality and metaphysics in Trinidad. Excellent ethnographic vignettes and vigorous conclusions; a major contribution to current debates on religion and modernity.” • Roland Littlewood, University College London

The Devil is Disorder covers an area often overlooked in medical anthropology – the link to religious beliefs and practices. The author shows impressively the relevance of taking religion into account when studying medicine. Her study also highlights the dynamic nature of cultures and the adaptability of traditions.” • Bettina Schmidt, University of Wales Trinity Saint David


What role might the Devil have in health and illness? The Devil is Disorder explores constructions of the body, health, illness and wider misfortune in a Trinidadian village where evangelical Christianity is growing in popularity. Based on long-term ethnography and locating the village in historical and global context, the book takes a nuanced cosmological approach to situate evangelical Christian understandings as shaping and being shaped by their context and, in the process, shaping individuals themselves. As people move from local to global subjects, health here stretches beyond being a matter of individual bodies and is connected to worldwide flows and networks, spirit entities, and expansive moral orders.

Rebecca Lynch is Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology at King’s College London. She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at University College London and has undertaken ethnographic work in Trinidad and the UK. Among other areas she has published on different sociocultural, moral and biomedical constructions of the body, health and illness and has edited three books that seek to expand approaches to the body and health.

Subject: Medical Anthropology Religion Sociology
Area: Latin America


List of Figures



Chapter 1. Trinidad village
Chapter 2. The material and other worlds
Chapter 3. Cosmological crafting and story-telling


Chapter 4. The body and health
Chapter 5. The Devil in the body
Chapter 6. Healing the body
Chapter 7. The body in the village and in the State
Chapter 8. The Devil is disorder

Conclusion: Job, justice and moral order

Appendix: Churches in the Village


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